Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Such a Small World!

I am sure you have heard that phrase several times, but really such a small world. Chances are the random person sitting next to you in a movie theater is a friends friends friends, friend.  According to a study conducted by Facebook the average number of people who separate any two individuals in the world is only 4.74 connections. The idea of ‘six degrees of separation’ -- that any two people are on average separated by no more than six intermediate connections -- was first proposed in 1929 in a short story by Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy, and made popular by the John Guare play and movie, Six Degrees of Separation.

Facebook findings are based on all of their 720 million active users. That is more than 10% of world population. If the analysis is limited to a single country the degree of separation reduces to a mere 3 connections.

According to the report published on Facebook "While we will never know if it was true in 1929, the scale and international reach of Facebook allows us to finally perform this study on a global scale. Using state-of-the-art algorithms developed at the Laboratory for Web Algorithmics of the Università degli Studi di Milano, we were able to approximate the number of hops between all pairs of individuals on Facebook."

Source: Facebook


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