Brief Communications

Nature 406, 845 (24 August 2000) | doi:10.1038/35022643

Navigation in a small world

Jon M. Kleinberg1

The small-world phenomenon — the principle that most of us are linked by short chains of acquaintances — was first investigated as a question in sociology1, 2 and is a feature of a range of networks arising in nature and technology3, 4, 5. Experimental study of the phenomenon1 revealed that it has two fundamental components: first, such short chains are ubiquitous, and second, individuals operating with purely local information are very adept at finding these chains. The first issue has been analysed2, 3, 4, and here I investigate the second by modelling how individuals can find short chains in a large social network.

  1. Department of Computer Science, Cornell University , Ithaca, New York 14853, USA