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Road Graphs and the Environment

Paper Link: So far in the course, in terms of graph theory, we have focused on connections between people and towns.  We have explored how the connections between nodes represent friendships and roads, and what these connections imply.  But there are many more ways to analyze graphs that weren’t discussed in class.  Two researchers, […]

Game Theory and the Iranian Bomb Crisis

Source: Bueno de Mesquita, a renowned game analyst, was hired by the CIA two years ago to apply game theory to Iran’s bomb crisis.  In order to predict the outcome of the Iran bomb crisis, Bueno de Mesquita spent a year conducting research on all the “players” within the Iran bomb network.  He added […]

Hub-and-Spoke vs Point-to-Point Transport Networks

With airlines, there are two very different ideas for planning flight routes – the hub-and-spoke model (H&S) and the point-to-point model (P2P). After deregulation in the 1970s, the industry slowly transited to a hub-and-spoke model to save costs and increase flight frequencies . A brief visit to Wikipedia at and gives a good […]

The Relationship Between Social and Commerce Networks

Source: A recent study run by Stanford University scholars explored the relationship between social and commerce networks in an online setting by analyzing Taobao, the world’s largest e-commerce website. The use of social networks in the online shopping experience has grown drastically recently, from the appearance of group purchasing opportunities to the sharing of […]


Contagion, the new film starring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law, premiered this weekend. The story behind the film is simple, a flu-like epidemic on a global scale. However, the idea behind this story is becoming more and more complex. The idea is that with the world becoming an increasingly globalized place, instruments of […]

Homophily and Social Tie Indicators

The principle of homophily states that “similarity breeds connection”. Numerous studies on homophily have provided strong evidence that similarity in various aspects of our daily life such as ethnicity, gender, age, religion, education, occupation, behavior and attitude breeds the formation of social ties (for a review, see McPherson et al., 2001). One good example is […]

The Physics of Terror We just celebrated the ten year anniversary of 9/11, an event that brought fear and uncertainty to the American nation. But what if we had known it was going to happen? What would be different if we could predict terrorist attacks? Is it even possible? Aaron Clauset, now a professor at the University of […]

Tricky Traffic Traffic is something that can truly rule our everyday lives. Whether we admit it or not, the idea of sitting in a car and commuting can be a daunting and very time wasting task that is a necessity for survival. In my hometown, traffic has been growing exponentially over the past few years and […]

About Nibbling and Sniping

What is the optimal bidding strategy on eBay? Actually, this should be a fairly easy question to answer. EBay is – except for minor differences – an ascending-bid auction. That means bidders increase their bids until only one bidder is left, which will win the auction at this price. As we have seen in class, […]

Coordination In Tax Evasion

Imagine you are driving down a narrow dirt road relatively fast and as you turn a corner you notice that another car is heading right at you.  There are multiple strategies at play in this situation.  Consider the fact that road isn’t big enough for either car to stay in the center (in this case […]

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September 2011
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