Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi's Linked

We live in a small world, where everything is connected to everything else. Indeed, networks are pervasive--from the human brain to the internet to the economy to our group of friends. These linkages aren't random. All networks have an underlying order and follow simple laws. Understanding the structure and behavior of these networks will help us do some amazing things, from designing the optimal organization of a firm to stopping a disease outbreak before it spreads catastrophically.

In Linked, Barabasi, a physicist whose work has revolutionized the study of networks, traces the development of this rapidly unfolding science and introduces us to the scientists carrying out this pioneering work. These "new cartographers" are mapping networks in a wide range of scientific disciplines, proving that social networks, corporations, and cells are more similar than they are different, and providing important new insights into the interconnected world around us. This knowledge, says Barabasi, can shed light on the robustness of the internet, the spread of fads and viruses, even the future of democracy. Linked provides an exciting preview of the next century in science, guaranteed to be transformed by these discoveries.

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