Microsoft study disproves six degrees of separation

 

An analysis of Microsoft’s instant messaging system has concluded that there aren’t six degrees of separation between everyone -- the number is 6.6.

A team of researchers analysed 30 billion messages sent on the company’s instant messenger client to see if the theory that everyone can be linked to everyone else by six degrees of separation was accurate.

"To me, it was pretty shocking. What we're seeing suggests there may be a social connectivity constant for humanity," Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft researcher who conducted the study with colleague Jure Leskovec, told the Washington Post.

"People have had this suspicion that we are really close. But we are showing on a very large scale that this idea goes beyond folklore."

The six degrees of separation argument, popularised by American psychologist Stanley Milgram, posits that everyone is one degree removed from people they know, two degrees from people their friends know and no more than six degrees away from everyone on the planet.

The idea has been around for nearly 100 years but has never been proven due to the difficulties of testing the hypothesis.

The Microsoft team came up with using data from their Messenger client. The researchers took an IM message between two unnamed individuals as a link and then examined how to connect 180 billion different pairs of users in the database

They found the actual number of links was 6.6, although 78 per cent of the world’s population can be linked in seven steps or less. However some took over twenty links to find a connection.

Copyright ©v3.co.uk


Microsoft study disproves six degrees of separation
 
 
 
Top Stories
NewSat defaults on $26m in overdue Lockheed payments
Jabiru-1 satellite build hits further hurdles.
 
IBM denies plans to cut 112k jobs
But admits to further restructuring.
 
ATO investigates 25 tech giants in tax hunt
Prepared to take tax evaders to court.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Franchisees, here's something you should know about
Jan 23, 2015
You need to know the Code if you are a franchisee or franchisor as the penalties are significant.
Xero users rejoice! Quoting has finally arrived
Jan 23, 2015
It has taken years, but Xero has at last added integrated quoting to its online accounting software.
You can now get a no-contract wi-fi tablet from Telstra
Jan 17, 2015
Telstra has began selling wi-fi tablets out of contract without paying extra for cellular ...
Get your business ready for 2015: mobile payments
Jan 2, 2015
These handy apps from MYOB, Xero and others can reduce your administrative load and improve ...
Xero prepares for key feature coming in 2015
Dec 19, 2014
Xero users will be able to track how their business is comparing to other Xero users.
Latest Comments
Polls
Who do you trust most to protect your private data?







   |   View results
Your bank
  36%
 
Your insurance company
  5%
 
A technology company (Google, Facebook et al)
  9%
 
Your telco, ISP or utility
  8%
 
A retailer (Coles, Woolworths et al)
  4%
 
A Federal Government agency (ATO, Centrelink etc)
  18%
 
An Australian law enforcement agency (AFP, ASIO et al)
  14%
 
A State Government agency (Health dept, etc)
  7%
TOTAL VOTES: 3049

Vote
Do you support the abolition of the Office of the Information Commissioner?

   |   View results
I support shutting down the OAIC.
  27%
 
I DON'T support shutting the OAIC.
  73%
TOTAL VOTES: 968

Vote