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Information Cascades and the Wisdom of Crowds

In an article on the wisdom of crowds, Larry Hardesty uses the idea of information cascades to discuss ongoing research at MIT on “herding” in social networks. He reports that economists, electrical engineers, and computer scientists have shown that “as networks of people grow larger, they’ll usually tend to converge on an accurate understanding of […]

It’s a Name Game

Every year college rankings are produced from multiple different sources:  Newsweek, US News, Princeton Review. The colleges are ranked on a number of different qualities, but when looking at the academic rankings, almost all of the different rankings contain the same schools. The top universities on the lists include the Ivy’s, the top technical schools […]

Google Vs. Bing The author of “So I put Google and Bing in the ring: Guess Who Won?”, Chris Matyszczyk, decided to take the “Bing it On Challenge” that has been highly advertised on TV for the last couple of months.  He explains which search terms he choose and why, and then talks about the results.  He […]

Network Effects and Environmental Policy

Time and again, we have seen that the phenomena of network effects can further the propagation of an ineffective status quo. In a paper published this summer, MIT professor Christopher R. Knittel examines how network effects contribute to our current “dependence” on the inefficient fuel source that is oil, specifically with regards to transportation. As […]

Luxury Food and Network Effects People can be quite irrational when it comes to food.  No, this isn’t about the alarming trend of Americans stuffing their faces with pre-processed meats and trans-fat laden fried objects in a slow decline towards a national obesity epidemic; rather, this is about the interesting economic decisions that people make when it comes to […]

Google vs. Microsoft Page Ranking

PageRank, an algorithm that rates the importance of web pages based on links from other important sites, is what made Google the famous search engine it is today. Even though Google is the top leader in search engines, Microsoft has a few suggestions that could top Google’s PageRank. Microsoft’s approach to page ranking is called […]

Taking a look at different mobile phone providers and the choices they offer for prepaid calling and texting plans, I discovered an interesting similarity among many of them. The three large companies I looked into, AT&T, Verizon and T-mobile, all offered an unlimited calling and texting plan for a certain price, and a calling and […]

The Unbalanced Popularity of Hashtags

On the popular microblogging site Twitter, hashtags (indicated by a ‘#’ before a word) can be used to easily group together similar 140-character messages. Hashtags generally follow trending news events and popular conversation topics. The popularity of different hashtags can be explored using basic principles of popularity across networks driven by information cascades. The choice […]

Cell phone networks’ resilience during Hurricane Sandy

The article I read discusses how many cell phone providers maintained service during Hurricane Sandy. In areas that were most affected, such a New York City, had service, and access to internet even with power outages. This allowed many people to go online to send and receive updates via service social media sites (twitter, facebook, […]

Cascades of Gangnam Style

[1] [2] [3]   Over the past few months, the worldwide invasion of South Korean rap music “Gangnam Style” and its music video have truly been sensational.  Since its first official appearance on one of the most popular social video network, YouTube, it has rapidly attracted few hundred millions of viewers and “likes” around the world […]

Blogging Calendar

November 2012