How Network Math Can Help You Make Friends — Quanta Magazine
My latest column for Quanta magazine introduces network science, an area of mathematics that has developed rapidly over the past 30 years and has impacted fields like computer science, biology, and economics.
In my column, I use friendships to develop the basic concepts of networks and explore different structures.
When you start at a new school or job, or move to a new city, how do you go about making new friends? You could take an active approach, forging strategic connections with the popular kids and the movers and shakers. Or you could leave things to chance, relying on random groupings and associations. Whatever your approach, understanding the structure of existing friendships in your new community can help you make the best connections, which will ultimately define your circle of friends.
One particular network structure, the so-called scale-free network, has emerged as a useful model in a wide variety of fields. But recent research suggests that these scale-free networks may not be as ubiquitous as we might have thought. You can learn more by reading my column here.