SMALL WORLD EFFECT 2)4)
A property of a network interconnection grid in which some apparently unrelated and widely separated elements turn out to be directly connected.
This is a general characteristic of many networks, whose importance has been emphasized by D. WATTS in a recent book (1999).
It appears when a few (even very few) elements have long-range connections, which put in contact some widely separated ones.
This is an intermediary state between networks wherein elements are only connected to their close neighbours and those wherein some elements are globally connected in a random way. Some few long-range connections in a network allow for the swift and efficient long-distance propagation of initially local effects. A limited number of this type of connections introduces specific constraints in the network. This should not be the case if too many long-range connections would be introduced in a completely random way. (R. MATTHEWS, 1998, p.7)
The presence of constraints in "small worlds" networks introduces a kind of fuzzy global communication ordering, even if the network lacks an organizational center.(R. MATTHEWS, 1999, p.27). This could be for example the case of the general brain organization, or the world's scientific research community. In both cases, a reduced number of specific long distance links is enough to create a global coherence when each of the linked elements has its own regional or specific network of connections whereby or wherefrom it can relay any information.
Small world models could be very useful for the study of the present globalization trends in ecology, economy, communication networks, business, politics, social organization, cultural evolution, etc.
The small world model can be useful in widely different situations, as for ex. in epidemiology, in brain studies, in electronic circuits, in communication and energy distribution networks (… and their failures!), in fads and fashion propagation phenomena, etc…
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- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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