From: John Conover <john@email.johncon.com>

Subject: Re: Informal Networks LO7743

Date: Wed, 5 Jun 1996 21:49:35 -0700

Replying to LO7543 -- Valdis E. Krebs writes: > Replying to LO7543 -- > > What is interesting here is that by being well connected, they gained even > more connections! The concept of 'increasing returns' (them that has > gets) in action! > Strangely, I don't think the concept is new. In the early 60's, NASA was doing studies into just that. They concluded that the "informal leaders," (what they called the "inner face," of the organization,) was, essentially, how the organization worked. Out of these studies came what was to be called "group advice, one man decisions," which was an organizational/management paradigm for NASA until the mid 70's, or so. The term, "... concept of 'increasing returns' ..." is interesting, since it is a term from complexity/economic theory. Additionally, it is interesting that the term is used in relation to organizational "connections" which would tend to indicate that the "informal leaders" or the "inner face" of the organization could be modeled using cellular automata, which is, in addition, a reliable analytical technique used to model interpersonal and social relationships with game-theoretic methodologies. See the works of Robert Axelrod and Stephanie Forrest for details. I think they can be found at the Santa Fe Institute, http://www.santafe.edu, and have proposed using genetic algorithms in addition to CA/GT techniques to simulate dynamical outcomes of large systems where game strategies are not constant-ie., the game rules have to be developed, or learned, "on the fly." I think Forrest's C source code is available on ftp.santafe.edu (I could be wrong!) that she used to model a "society" with "massively" many concurrent players, (or "citizens,") each player playing the game-theoretic iterated "prisoner's dilemma," (ie., classic multi-player zero-sum iterated game,) with the other "citizens" that are in close proximity. The results of the simulation are astonishing, to say the least. Most "players" eventually "discover," or "learn," and adopt a cooperation strategy in relation to the "society" as a whole-which is a counter-intuitive outcome in relation to game-theoretic analysis, where it can be shown that the only "rational" strategy for such a simple zero-sum game is non-cooperative. BTW, this was a major issue with John Von Neumann, (who founded game theory,) and considered it enigmatic that game-theoretic means predicted that the only rational outcome of humanity was self destruction. (He made the comment, some time around 1954, that this was why we are alone in the universe, since the "prisoner's dilemma" has no solution, all intelligent beings would eventually destroy their selves.) John References: "John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing," William Aspray, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1990. "Prisoner's Dilemma," William Poundstone, Doubleday, New York, New York, 1992. "Handbook of Genetic Algorithms," Lawrence Davis, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, New York, 1991. "Complexity," M. Mitchell Waldrop, Simon & Schuster, New York, New York, 1992. "Games and Decisions," R. Duncan Luce and Howard Raiffa, John Wiley & Sons, New York, New York, 1957. And a really great www site for the history and introduction of game theory: http://william-king.www.drexel.edu/top/class/histf.html -- John Conover, john@email.johncon.com, http://www.johncon.com/

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