Observing a Society

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Cultural Homogeneity

The paper on which this tutorial is based is concerned with the stability of a society. To investigate this idea, we need tools to observe the society with. One such tool, introduced by Carley, is cultural homogeneity. Cultural Homogeneity is a measure (between zero and one) of how similar agents are across an entire population.

Cultural homogeneity is defined as the number of shared facts across all possible pairs of agents divided by the total possible number of shared facts across all agents in a population. Cultural homogeneity is equal to one only if all agents know precisely the same facts.

A society that achieves a cultural homogeneity of one is "perfectly stable."* Perfect stability means that the society is in a steady state and no further connections can change any agent's knowledge.

* It should be noted that perfect stability does not necessarily imply that cultural homogeneity is equal to one. A society can also be perfectly stable because it is composed of distinct groups of agents that do not share any facts in common and thus cannot ever interact. In such a situation, cultural homogeneity will be less than one. Such a society is known as disjoint. However, we will primarily be concerned with societies that are connected, that is, not disjoint.

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