Instant-Messagers Really Are About Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon…Or Me For That Matter

03 Aug


Microsoft Research
Microsoft Research

Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft researcher conducted a study (pdf) with colleague Jure Leskovec designed to determine if the “small world theory”, which states that any person world wide is separated from any other person world wide by only 6.2 degrees of separation, did indeed hold any water.

What they found, using statistics from a Microsoft database covering all of the Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging network in June 2006 —  which is roughly half of the world’s IM traffic at the time — is that the average chain steps needed to connect two people would be 6.6…most of the time:

The researchers looked at the minimum chain lengths it would take to connect 180 billion different pairs of users in the database. They found that the average length was 6.6 steps and that 78 percent of the pairs could be connected in seven hops or less.

Some pairs, however, were separated by as many as 29 hops.

So, if you don’t mind…could someone please ring up Bill Gates for me? Or Stephen Hawking? Hello? Anyone?


Posted by on August 3, 2008 in Science News


Tags: , ,

2 responses to “Instant-Messagers Really Are About Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon…Or Me For That Matter

  1. mxsive

    August 3, 2008 at 6:45 PM

    So the interesting thing is how close we are to Osama bin Laden… HAHA so the max of only 29 persons away and still can’t catch him.

  2. Christopher

    August 3, 2008 at 9:01 PM

    Hah! If only we could get him on the Messenger IM…

    Help Osama, We’ve fallen and can’t get out…please send current location…hmmmm


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