US Military Scientists Solve the Fundamental Problem of Viral Marketing
Viral messages begin life by infecting a few individuals and then start to spread across a network. The most infectious end up contaminating more or less everybody. Just how and why this happens is the subject of much study and debate. Network scientists know that key factors are the rate at which people become infected, the “connectedness” of the network and how the seed group of individuals, who first become infected, are linked to the rest. It is this seed group that fascinates everybody from marketers wanting to sell Viagra to epidemiologists wanting to study the spread of HIV. So a way of finding seed groups in a given social network would surely be a useful trick, not to mention a valuable one. These guys have found a way to identify a seed group that, when infected, can spread a message across an entire network. Their method is relatively straightforward. This process finishes when there is nobody left in the network who has more friends than the threshold. Expect to hear more!
Related: Network Science