information flow

Last week, Kapil and I prepared a collection of all the programs we needed for our practicals this semester, and Kapil sent them out to all the members of our class. Yesterday, I got the same zipfile we sent back as an email, from a person outside our college. Also, someone uploaded the file to the BITBIS community filespace. Soon after that, I got two copies of the same 604 Compilers notes from two different people.

It's extremely interesting to see how information flows through which such high redundancy. Considering almost all communication occurs in a similar manner, it sometimes wonder why human interaction is so inefficient. I think the key reason behind this inefficiency and redundancy is to guarantee delivery. For example in a mesh-like social network like the students in our university, some people may be more connected to more people than others. Thus, to ensure that the less connected people get the information, the information will be sent many times from many places. As a result, the more connected people, like me, will get the same information many times. Hmm, interesting.

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About the author:

Arnab Nandi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. You can read more about him here.

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