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Vole proves six degrees of separation between us

by on04 August 2008


Looked at our mail to prove it

Software giant Microsoft has sniffed at 30 billion electronic messages and claims to have prove that there are only six degrees of separation between each human.

The theory of six degrees of separation contends that because we are all linked by chains of acquaintance, you are just six introductions away from any other person on the planet. Vole looked at 30 billion electronic messages, they worked out that any two strangers are, on average, distanced by precisely 6.6 degrees of separation.

According to the Washington Post, Vole used the database that covered all the Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging network. Eric Horvitz and fellow researcher, Jure Leskovec, considered two people to be acquaintances if they had sent one another a message.

They then looked at the minimum chain lengths it would take to connect 180 billion different pairs of users in the database. It is still not conclusive, as some people were separated by as much as 29 steps. (Most of them probably live in Bosnia and just can't get visas, sub.ed.)

More here.
Last modified on 04 August 2008
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