Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Scale-Free Networks," by Albert-László Barabási and EricBonabeau. Scientific American, May2003, pages 60-69.

Scale-free networks are those in which the relative frequency of nodes withk links is proportional to k-n for some n. Thatis, the links obey a power law. Before there was much research in networks, ithad been assumed that complex networks like the Internet were random, so thatthe distribution of nodes as a function of the number of links was normal.Research has shown, however, that many complex networks, including theInternet, are scale-free. Other examples of scale-free networks are given andthe authors explain the consequences of a network being scale-free.

--- Mike Breen