Competition-Induced Criticality in a Model of Meme Popularity

Condensed Matter journal club

Competition-Induced Criticality in a Model of Meme Popularity

  • Event time: 11:30am
  • Event date: 21st February 2014
  • Speaker: Justin Whitehouse (Formerly School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details


Heavy-tailed distributions of meme popularity occur naturally in a model of meme diffusion on social networks. Competition between multiple memes for the limited resource of user attention is identified as the mechanism that poises the system at criticality. The popularity growth of each meme is described by a critical branching process, and asymptotic analysis predicts power-law distributions of popularity with very heavy tails (exponent < 2, unlike preferential-attachment models), similar to those seen in empirical data.
PRL 112 article 048701 (2014)
pdf version


James P. Gleeson, Jonathan A. Ward, Kevin P O'Sullivan, William T. Lee

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