Duncan J. Watts

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Duncan Watts
Duncan Watts.jpg
Watts presenting at iCitizen 2008
Born Duncan James Watts
(1971-02-20) February 20, 1971 (age 46)[1]
Guelph, Ontario[1]
Residence New York City
Nationality Australia
Alma mater University of New South Wales
Cornell University (PhD)
Known for Watts and Strogatz model
Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age[2]
Website research.microsoft.com/en-us/people/duncan
Scientific career
Fields Sociology, network science
Institutions Columbia University
Microsoft Research
Santa Fe Institute
Yahoo! Research
Nuffield College, Oxford[3]
Thesis The structure and dynamics of small-world systems (1997)
Doctoral advisor Steven Strogatz[4]
Doctoral students Gueorgi Kossinets
Roby Muhamad
Matthew Salganik [4]

Duncan James Watts (born 1971) is a sociologist and principal researcher at Microsoft Research, New York City known for his work on small-world networks.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]


Watts received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of New South Wales and a Ph.D.[1] from Cornell University.


Watts was past external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute and a former professor of sociology at Columbia University, where he headed the Collective Dynamics Group.[18] He is author of the book Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age[2] and Everything is Obvious *Once You Know the Answer: How Common Sense Fails Us.[19] The six degrees research is based on his 1998 paper with Steven Strogatz in which the two presented a mathematical theory of the small world phenomenon.[20]

Until April 2012, he was a principal research scientist at Yahoo! Research, where he directed the Human Social Dynamics group.[21] Watts joined Microsoft Research in New York City by its opening on May 3, 2012.[22][23]

Watts describes his research as exploring the "role that network structure plays in determining or constraining system behavior, focusing on a few broad problem areas in social science such as information contagion, financial risk management, and organizational design."[24] More recently he has attracted attention for his modern-day replication of Stanley Milgram's small world experiment using email messages and for his studies of popularity and fads in on-line and other communities.


  1. ^ a b c Watts, Duncan James (1997). The structure and dynamics of small-world systems (PhD thesis). Cornell University. 
  2. ^ a b Watts, Duncan (2003). Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-04142-5. 
  3. ^ http://everythingisobvious.com/the-author
  4. ^ a b Duncan J. Watts at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. ^ Watts, D. J. (1999). "Networks, Dynamics, and the Small‐World Phenomenon". American Journal of Sociology. 105 (2): 493–527. doi:10.1086/210318. 
  6. ^ Watts, D. J.; Dodds, P. S.; Newman, M. E. (2002). "Identity and Search in Social Networks". Science. 296 (5571): 1302–1305. Bibcode:2002Sci...296.1302W. PMID 12016312. arXiv:cond-mat/0205383Freely accessible. doi:10.1126/science.1070120. 
  7. ^ Watts, D. J. (2002). "A simple model of global cascades on random networks". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 99 (9): 5766–5771. Bibcode:2002PNAS...99.5766W. doi:10.1073/pnas.082090499. 
  8. ^ Dodds, P. S.; Muhamad, R.; Watts, D. J. (2003). "An Experimental Study of Search in Global Social Networks". Science. 301 (5634): 827–829. Bibcode:2003Sci...301..827D. PMID 12907800. doi:10.1126/science.1081058. 
  9. ^ Watts, D. J. (2004). "The "New" Science of Networks". Annual Review of Sociology. 30: 243–270. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.30.020404.104342. 
  10. ^ Dodds, P.; Watts, D. (2004). "Universal Behavior in a Generalized Model of Contagion". Physical Review Letters. 92 (21). Bibcode:2004PhRvL..92u8701D. arXiv:cond-mat/0403699Freely accessible. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.92.218701. 
  11. ^ Watts, D. J. (2005). "Multiscale, resurgent epidemics in a hierarchical metapopulation model". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 102 (32): 11157–11162. Bibcode:2005PNAS..10211157W. PMC 1183543Freely accessible. PMID 16055564. doi:10.1073/pnas.0501226102. 
  12. ^ Duncan J. Watts at DBLP Bibliography Server
  13. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
  14. ^ Duncan J. Watts's publications indexed by Google Scholar
  15. ^ Duncan J. Watts author profile page at the ACM Digital Library
  16. ^ Duncan J. Watts's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier. (subscription required)
  17. ^ Clive Thompson (February 2008). "Is the Tipping Point Toast?". Fast Company. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  18. ^ CDG Collective Dynamics Group
  19. ^ Watts, Duncan (2011). Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer: How Common Sense Fails Us. New York: Crown Business. ISBN 0-385-53168-0. 
  20. ^ Watts, D. J.; Strogatz, S. H. (1998). "Collective dynamics of 'small-world' networks" (PDF). Nature. 393 (6684): 440–442. Bibcode:1998Natur.393..440W. PMID 9623998. doi:10.1038/30918. 
  21. ^ Herald Sun. Australian social-network researcher Duncan Watts leaves Yahoo. [1]
  22. ^ Floridia, Richard. "Why Microsoft Chose New York City", The Atlantic: Cities, 2 May 2012. Retrieved on 8 May 2012.
  23. ^ Knies, Rob. "Microsoft Research Microsoft Research Debuts N.Y.C. Lab", Microsoft Research, 7 May 2012. Retrieved on 8 May 2012.
  24. ^ Home page of Duncan Watts at Yahoo Research

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