IST Lunch Bunch

Tuesday January 28, 2014 12:00 PM

Information Flows, Technology Bubbles, and Gravity Models

Speaker: Andrew Odlyzko, School of Mathematics, University of Minnesota
Location: Annenberg 105

The growth of digital communications is likely to lead to
major advances in understanding bubbles.  How information diffuses (or,
as happens all too frequently) does not diffuse, is the key element
that has been neglected in studies of technology manias.

We do not have to wait for future bubbles to test such approaches.
The rapidly increasing digitization of old printed material enables
studies of historical episodes.  This will be illustrated with the
example of one of the earliest breakthroughs in what was Big Data
of the time, namely the now-forgotten discovery of gravity models
of social interaction during the 1840s.  Had this work been properly
appreciated, it could have averted one of the greatest bubbles in
history, the British Railway Mania.

Series IST Lunch Bunch

Contact: Sydney Garstang at 626-395-4555 sydney@caltech.edu