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CCS Seminar
Professor Sidney Redner
Boston University Physics Department
Friday - April 9, 2010
12:00 noon
Physics Research Building - Room 595

"The Dynamics of Consensus and Conflict"

How do relationships evolve between socially-interacting people or organizations? This question is investigated for two simple models of social dynamics. In the voter model, an individual can be in one of two opinion states and continuously updates its opinion at a rate proportional to the fraction of opposite-opinion neighbors. I will describe the exact solution of this model for voters situated on the nodes of a regular graph and briefly discuss the extension of this model to voters on complex social networks.

I will also describe the evolution of social networks that contain friendly and unfriendly social links. This leads to interaction triads with one or three unfriendly links---where some relationships among the constituent nodes must be "frustrated". Under the simplest frustration-reducing dynamics, this network undergoes a dynamical phase transition from a steady state to "utopia"---all links friendly---as a friendliness parameter passes through a critical value. An example of this trend to social balance was the evolution of treaties among European countries between 1880-1910 that ultimately led to the alliances among the protagonists of World War I.




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