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Toward a theoretical and substantial understanding of complex social networks - Essay Example

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This essay discusses that both random and scale-free networks can be used to explain systemic processes according to rules of connectivity, which can in turn be used to construct dynamic models based on the manner in which nodes seek out and link with other nodes. …
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Toward a theoretical and substantial understanding of complex social networks
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Download file to see previous pages This research is being carried out to determine the viability of a theory. One of the best ways to do it is to compare it to the parameters and processes of real world systems. Aristotle’s examination of the physical manifestations of natural phenomena helped lead him to his theory of universals, which holds that an object has its own immutable and innate form: a pear is a pear because it embodies that form. The observation of complex social networks, both great and small, yields invaluable information about how their processes affect form, systemic characteristics and interact with other systems. The study of real-world networks reveals a wealth of information about the relevance of the random network model and the theory of scale-free networks, as developed by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi and Reka Albert. Thus, by observing systems such as food web networks, human physiological systems and various social interactions we may determine to what extent the laws of connectivity predict how they behave under certain circumstances. By extension, we may also utilize systems that approximate real-world network tendencies, such as the worldwide web and power network grids. Both random and scale free networks exhibit characteristics that are identifiable in natural systems. In Linked: The New Science of Networks, Barabasi and Albert describe random networks in terms of human physiology, explaining that the more links that are added within a system, the more difficult it becomes to find an isolated node. Thus the networks around and within us are very dense, which explains why “all molecules in our body are integrated into a single complex cellular map” (Barabasi and Albert 2002, p. 19). In this way, Nature creates redundancy to ensure survival by “repeatedly and extravagantly (exceeding) the one-link minimum” (2002, p. 18). In developing the theory of scale-free network, Barabasi and Albert found that most real-world networks display what they 2 describe as “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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