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View Full Version : Nets: The Family TREE? Nope.


James Brody
October 12th, 2005, 05:23 PM
8/20/05

An eavesdropped voice at Barnes commented to her friends that small children would rather be an emcee than a guest star. Adults have the opposite preference. No surprise when you understand networks: the emcee is there every week, the guests are not. Emcees appear to be hubs but the stars mere nodes.
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The grandmother had ADHD, she also had difficulty explaining her family relationships to me so I asked her to draw her family tree for me as background for our next visit. And she drew not an inverted tree as the geneticists do but 20 circles in four clusters...an emergent network similar to those drawn in Nature!!! And her circles varied slightly in size in accord with not the distance of the relationship but with its frequency of contact with her and its emotional importance.

Three of the 20 people on her list were allies, two were reverberating irritants each of whom escalated demands for money and help in proportion to the partner's most recent success, and one who changed from month-to-month in a random fashion. Omigod! We have a power law! And as a geneticist might expect, the irritants were "one-step removed" from her but as a geneticist would not expect, her closest ally and soul mate was one of her son's ex-wives.

If only computers organized data in networks rather than in trees...infinitely expandable, jam-free....

References:
Barabasi, A-L (2002) Linked: The New Science of Networks. NY: Perseus.
Brody, J. (2004) Bipolar disorder: self-interested networks, cycling, and their management. Chapter 2 in M. Brown (Ed.) Progress in Bipolar Disorder Research. Hauppage, NY: Nova Science Biomedical Series, pp. 33-64.
Brody, J. (2005) ADHD: Inhibition, Emergent Networks, and Maternal Investment. Chapter 2 in Michelle Larimer (Ed.) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Research. Hauppage, NY: Nova Science Biomedical Series. pp.19-58.
Toroczkai, Z., & Bassler, K. (2004) Network dynamics: jamming is limited in scale-free systems. Nature. 428: 716.
Watts, D. (2000/2004) Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Watts, D. (2003) Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. NY: Norton.
Watts, D. & Strogatz, S. (1998) Collective dynamics of 'small-world' networks. Nature. 393: 440-442.

Copyright 2005, James Brody, all rights reserved.