"Motifs Distinguish Networks"

Graham Klyne gk-rdfweb at n...
Mon Dec 9 13:32:44 UTC 2002

"Motifs Distinguish Networks"
Technology Research News (12/04/02); Patch, Kimberly

Israeli researchers studying network connections have found they can be 
classified into many different types of motifs based on their function and 
design. The Weizmann Institute of Science team found similarities between 
social networks and the Internet, for example, because both have 
small-world and scale-free characteristics; just a few links on the 
Internet enable a person to reach any point on that network in the same way 
every person on the planet supposedly has six degrees of separation between 
them. Small-world networks are characterized by short paths between large 
nodes, while scale- free networks are characterized by many nodes with few 
connections and a few nodes with links to many other nodes. Weizmann senior 
scientist Uri Alon says that other areas of research can benefit from the 
findings. For example, nanoscale engineering should consider the 
connections prevalent in cellular systems, such as the feedforward loop and 
amplifier motifs. "The circuits favored by biology will be the ones that 
work [in] engineering on the nanoscale," Alon says. By better understanding 
the network motifs of the World Wide Web, researchers can improve search 
engines and network design. Eventually, Alon proposes that all networks can 
be categorized into different classes, allowing engineers to quickly 
determine the optimal way to design man-made networks. Filippo Menczer of 
the University of Iowa praises the group's research, explaining that "It 
goes beyond global link analysis such as the studies which unveiled the 
scale-free/power degree distribution of many complex networks including the 
Web, and starts focusing on more local structures."
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Graham Klyne
<GK at N...>

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