Computational Perspectives II

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Optimal Sharing At Partial Information Overlap

Our next set of simulations is inspired by the observed influence of knowledge overlap between two human beings on the rate of further informational exchange. In particular, we note that it would be very useful, but also quite difficult to initiate communication between two people who share no common understanding on any topic. On the other hand, exchange of ideas between partners with equivalent sets of information is easy to establish, but unfortunately meaningless. Consequently, optimal communication happens between people with some partial knowledge overlap. Natural language such as English is the most basic example of the joint knowledge that helps two individuals exchange information which they do not yet share. In the words of "Why Information Should Influence Productivity,"

Hypothesis 6b: Optimal sharing occurs between partners with partial information overlap.

The subsequent slides illustrate some of the results implied by the above proposition. Alternatively, if you are interested in the mathematical details of our simulations, you may skip to the corresponding mathematical appendix at the very end of this tutorial.

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