Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Toward a unified theory of social networks

"It gradually became clear that bits and pieces of a unified theory were surfacing, but that a crucial element capable of tying them all together in a quantum-mechanically consistent manner was missing."
– Greene, The Elegant Universe

Is this not an accurate description of the current state of the web?

4 Comments:

  • My rendition of Zawinski's law for the web.

    By Anonymous Kartik Agaram, at 7/17/2007 9:50 PM  

  • Kartik - Nice one. I guess the corollary is that there is a formal equivalence between email and social networking.

    Perhaps we may go further and conjecture that there is a set of operations Å by which any email thread T can be smoothly transformed into a social network N. We call Å an agaram manifold and denote it Å: T ⇒ N.

    It is not known at present whether the converse (N ⇒ T) is true; that important question is the subject of current research. If social-network theorists determine that the converse is indeed true, that will be truly remarkable, for it then follows that agaram manifolds are operation-preserving isomorphisms; that is to say, Å(N)◊Å(T) = Å(N●T).

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 7/18/2007 10:44 AM  

  • Hi Jonathan,

    Intriguing concept but before it is useful we need to define the end points better.
    How do you define an "email thread",
    how do you define a "social network" both at the same level of mathematical sophistication as "manifold", "isomorphism", "smoothly transformed" ...
    Otherwise the question arises - what is the initial structure of the thing we are transforming? What is the structure of the thing to which we are transforming it?

    By Blogger Nitin, at 10/01/2007 1:13 PM  

  • Hi Nitin - heh - actually my "mathematical" theorem was just a joke, authentic-sounding mathematical babble.

    Though who knows - perhaps there is an unwitting kernel of truth in it?

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 10/01/2007 10:00 PM  

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