Web’s ‘Kevin Bacon’ Effect–Everything Connected By 19 Clicks
We’re more connected than we thought.
‘As the Web began to grow in the 1990s, it was thought that it most probably had the properties of a random network,’ says Hungarian physicist Albert-László Barabási.
The researchers originally determined this by constructing algorithms that collected all the links on a Web page and then followed them to their destinations, and repeating the process over and over again.
His research, first published in Nature in 1999, has now been expanded and published in the prestigious Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.
His team found that in fact, any page on the web can be linked to any other via a surprisingly small number of clicks, known as the ‘small world property’.
It say ‘that two nodes are likely to be connected, even in such a very large and sparse scale-free network as the Web, by a relatively short path of nodes—in the case of the Web, the path length is about 19,’ said Professor Barabási.
He claims the key to the web’s fast expansion yet small ‘Kevin Bacon number’ is the emergence of massive ‘hubs’ such as Facebook and Google.
‘Such networks are in effect held together by a small number of highly connected hubs,’ he writes.
Pictured is a visualization of the web by the Opte Project.