The Richer Get Richer

The second week’s reading was another chapter from old mate Albert-László Barabási, again focusing on explaining the network of the internet scientifically.

It was pretty dry and heavy going, but there was a few interesting points buried in there.

This one continues from other, and mainly focuses on explaining why there are ‘hubs’ in the networks, huge websites that dominate traffic on the internet. This is explained through the rich get richer phenomenon, whereby the pages that we prefer to link are the ones that are already better known, ones with more links and views. The more links that a website has, the easier it is for them

It’s also stated that this power law distribution could potentially apply to all networks that we initially believed to be random, but it has been mathematically proven to apply to the internet.

The network of the internet is in no way random. It is entirely deliberate, calculated and co-ordinated, and is done so through two factors: growth, and preferential attachment.

Both of these are seemingly non-brainers nowadays. The internet is obviously constantly growing and changing, each millisecond of the day. Just with this very post, the internet is growing, however minutely. Page by page, post by post, unlecture notes by unlecture notes, the internet is growing all around us.

This is combined with the fact that we don’t link to things randomly (duh), but we link to pages that already have a lot of links to it, ones that are respected and already used, we employ preferential attachment. This, in a very basic way, is how a Google search works (I think).

These factors result in a power law distribution, due to this rich get richer phenomenon, with the creation of ‘hubs’ in the network, these big websites that dominate links and traffic on the internet.

This was the main point that I got out of the reading, primarily, the explanation for why, and how, the internet network is how it is.

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  1. Pingback: More Richness | Networked Media

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