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The new research follows closely the "small world" concept popularized by the Kevin Bacon game, a pop culture fad which involved linking actors to Kevin Bacon through as few people as possible.  (Source: Wikipedia)

In order to determine the quickest path a topology is generated based on similarity of nodes. By considering this topology smarter networks can be designed and messages can be better routed on existing networks.  (Source: CAIDA, San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego)
New mathematical "Six Degrees of Separation" principle seems to guide everything from internet routing to neurology.

Could Kevin Bacon save the future of the internet?

Scientists have developed a key breakthrough that could provide critical insight into how to improve the internet and other systems.  The breakthrough, though reliant on very complex mathematical concepts, bears a startling similarity on a high level to a pop culture phenomenon.

The "Six Degrees of Separation" principle is an old one, first theorized in the "small world" principle developed in the1960s by sociologist Stanley Milgram.  One version of the principle goes that any living person on Earth is connected to any other person by a mere six people. 

The concept reached feverish pop culture status when the "Six Degree of Kevin Bacon" game launched.  A board game, television, and Broadway play all involved version of the game, which consisted of connecting actors to Kevin Bacon in the least steps possible.  The game was based on a quote by Mr. Bacon in which he stated that he'd worked with everyone in Hollywood, or someone who had worked with them.

The new study finds a similar principle in computer networking and other natural phenomenon.  It reveals the "hidden space" which lies in many problems.  This hidden space drives natural networks such as gene regulation or neural networks that connect neurons to organs and muscles within our bodies.  This hidden space also reveals insight into how the internet functions smoothly and how it can get bottlenecked.

Dmitri Krioukov, the study’s principal investigator with the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA), based at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego states, "Internet experts are worried that the existing Internet routing architecture may not sustain even another decade.  Routing in the existing Internet has already reached its scalability limits; black holes are appearing everywhere."

Kimberly Claffy, director of CAIDA and adjunct professor of computer science at UC San Diego, adds, "Discovery of such a metric space hidden beneath the Internet could point toward architectural innovations that would remove this bottleneck.  Although quite prevalent in the natural world, the idea of routing using only local rather than global knowledge of network connectivity represents a revolutionary change in how to think about engineering communications networks. It’s clear that the Internet’s current architectural requirements are incompatible with the overwhelming amount of information that’s being transmitted through this now critical global infrastructure."

The new concept explains how complex networks, like the human nervous system, can route messages highly effectively through many nodes with no node having knowledge of the entire system.  This is possible by visualizing the global network as a geometric topology and optimizing a complex network for maximum efficiency.

States Mr. Krioukov, "A vast majority of very different complex networks have similar shapes.  They have similar shapes not just for fun, but perhaps because they all evolved toward structures and shapes that maximize efficiency according to their main common function, and that function is communication."

In nature this process is controlled by evolution, but in manmade systems, this guiding optimization principle requires complex visualization, not previously developed.  With the new discovery similar refinements of computer networks and an overhaul of the internet in general should be possible.

One application of this "hidden space" is to optimize message routing through similarity.  People with similar personalities or interests have been shown to be more likely to connect online or off.  In a random routing scenario, routing between similar parties produces faster results, as demonstrated when the topology of similarity and the nodes are graphed using the new method.

The new method could increase the size and speed of the internet.

However, it also has many other possible uses, such as social searches or medicine.  Explains Mr. Krioukov, "This could be applied to cancer research, for example, whose studies rely heavily on gene regulation.  Suppose you were able to find the hidden space here. One could then figure out what drives gene regulation networks and what drives them to failure. This would be an important contribution to the field."

The research, co-authored by Marián Boguñá is published in the journal Nature Physics.

The study was funded by a DGES grant, a Generalitat de Catalunya grant, a Ramón y Cajal program of the Spanish Ministry of Science donation, and by networking giant Cisco Systems.

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Wild Things
By FITCamaro on 11/18/2008 12:12:49 PM , Rating: 3
Not that anyone cares that Kevin Bacon was in it but great movie.

RE: Wild Things
By chmilz on 11/18/2008 1:05:45 PM , Rating: 1
Are you kidding? That movie was terrible. Aside from some lame soft-core lesbian porn, there was nothing appealing or memorable about it. Heck, I can find better soft-core porn on Showcase HD any night after about 8pm on tv, without having to watch Neve Campbell or that skinny rat-looking girl's bad acting.

RE: Wild Things
By MadMan007 on 11/18/2008 1:44:40 PM , Rating: 3
Have to disagree. That movie was stylistically 'cool' and the plot had twists and turns that made it interesting. There was a sense of tension throughout the whole movie between the characters and the plot development. Even if the sex scenes had been toned down or hinted at rather than explicit it would have been a good movie.

I guess you're just a typical male idiot who only focused on the sex.

RE: Wild Things
By Lord 666 on 11/18/2008 2:09:03 PM , Rating: 1
Hmm, I am trying to figure out if you are MadMan007 and really are double agent playing for both teams or the W key does not work on your keyboard and you really wanted MadWoman007.

The sex added to the rawness and shock value of the movie... just like the first 15 minutes of Wedding Crashers with that climaxed with Vivian (Diora Baird). What about Christina Hendricks (now in Mad Men) where there isn't any skin showing and is smoking hot in every scene? Kat Dennings isn't too far behind either.

PS - I'm not a male idiot, but there is no denying women are gorgeous.

RE: Wild Things
By Lord 666 on 11/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: Wild Things
By MadMan007 on 11/19/2008 3:09:57 AM , Rating: 2
No I'm male and I found the sex scenes in that movie hot :) BUT to boil down the movie to mere 'bad soft core porn' does not do it justice so I made fun of someone who only saw the movie in that way.

RE: Wild Things
By foolsgambit11 on 11/19/2008 8:40:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I agree, that's like boiling 'Six Degrees of Separations' down into a movie where Will Smith kisses Anthony Michael Hall. (To keep the six degrees theme)

RE: Wild Things
By omnicronx on 11/18/2008 2:09:44 PM , Rating: 2
Aside from some lame soft-core lesbian porn, there was nothing appealing or memorable about it.
Take it back! Denise Richards has an amazing rack! That alone made the movie 4 stars!

RE: Wild Things
By Lord 666 on 11/18/2008 2:14:11 PM , Rating: 3
Plus, there is something hot about a woman holding a shotgun, especially lefty. Even Sarah Palin.

RE: Wild Things
By FITCamaro on 11/18/2008 3:34:37 PM , Rating: 2
Denise Richards *drool*

By SpaceRanger on 11/18/2008 11:45:21 AM , Rating: 3
(Shameless taken from the Wiki Page regarding this)

"So.. You were in a movie with Val Kilmer??"

"Nope, but Val was in Top Gun. Top Gun had Tom Cruise in it. Tom was in A Few Good Men with me."

By Aloonatic on 11/18/2008 11:48:12 AM , Rating: 2
By Spivonious on 11/18/2008 12:40:32 PM , Rating: 2
That site is awesome. Thanks for the link!

By KristopherKubicki on 11/18/2008 12:43:18 PM , Rating: 3
What few realize is that you can pretty much substitute any actor and still come out with a 6 degrees of separation rule. Map space is map space, no matter what the pivot :)

Works great with STD's too!
By Lord 666 on 11/18/2008 12:24:54 PM , Rating: 4
Sally was with Bob and gave him Chlamydia.

Bob then slept with Jen spreading it further.

Jen transfered it to Jim who is her husband.

Jim then gave it to Rich. So now Rich effectively slept with Sally, but normally doesn't go that way.

Why is this significant?
By MatthiasF on 11/18/2008 11:45:46 PM , Rating: 2
Don't ISPs already do this with BGP and weighted routes?

They have software that creates a map of their network, sets up weighted routes in the iBGP tables inside their ASN and propagate it throughout their network.

The ISPs beside them do the same, so any traffic between two points always take the shortest, quickest path available.

Admit it!
By oTAL on 11/19/2008 7:00:51 AM , Rating: 2
Come on Jason... You didn't really understand the science behind all this, did you? =P

Have any Maple Kevin Bacon?
By phxfreddy on 11/19/2008 10:47:53 AM , Rating: 2
Bomquisha want some.

By Headfoot on 11/21/2008 5:24:03 PM , Rating: 2
But do we need more internet?

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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