The Carley Model of Information Sharing

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A Simple Example:

Note: in order to run the simulation referred to in this slide, go here, to the Java Applet version. You will be directed to download the latest version of the Java plug-in.

Consider a society of students at a university. All students will share some facts in common associated with being a student. However, some students might study the sciences and some might study the humanities. The ones that study science will typically share common knowledge; the ones that study humanities will share common knowledge but members of each distinct population probably have less in common than they do with members of their own population.

To the left is a pictorial representation of such a society. The circles represent agents (in this case students), and each color that can be seen in a circle represents a particular fact that the agent knows. As you can see, the agents in the upper half share a large number of facts in common. So do the agents in the lower half. Assuming each agent has a preference for a specific type of interaction, the connections that form will not be totally random. (Details are provided in the technical appendix).

Press "Go" several times to see whom the agents choose as contacts.

In this model, agents connect serially and probabilistically. That is, agents are selected in a random order and allowed to select a partner. Reflecting day-to-day interactions, an agent chooses his contacts with some randomness weighted by his interest in neighbors' knowledge; then the process repeats. Because of this, each time agents form connections, different partners will form. For more information see the tutorial on connection algorithms.

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