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]

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 also author of two books. His first, Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age[2] is based on the six degrees research in his 1998 paper with Steven Strogatz, in which the two presented a mathematical theory of the small world phenomenon.[19] His second book, Everything is Obvious *Once You Know the Answer: How Common Sense Fails Us,[20] explains common errors people make when making decisions especially for groups or organizations, and suggests alternative methods using research and data. He also presents some of his research from Yahoo and Microsoft, and comments on the work of some popular nonfiction writers like Malcolm Gladwell.

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. ^ 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. arXiv:cond-mat/0205383Freely accessible. Bibcode:2002Sci...296.1302W. doi:10.1126/science.1070120. PMID 12016312. 
  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" (PDF). Science. 301 (5634): 827–829. Bibcode:2003Sci...301..827D. doi:10.1126/science.1081058. PMID 12907800. 
  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). arXiv:cond-mat/0403699Freely accessible. Bibcode:2004PhRvL..92u8701D. 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. doi:10.1073/pnas.0501226102. PMC 1183543Freely accessible. PMID 16055564. 
  12. ^ Duncan J. Watts at DBLP Bibliography Server
  13. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
  14. ^ Duncan J. Watts 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 Archived 2005-04-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Watts, D. J.; Strogatz, S. H. (1998). "Collective dynamics of 'small-world' networks" (PDF). Nature. 393 (6684): 440–442. Bibcode:1998Natur.393..440W. doi:10.1038/30918. PMID 9623998. [permanent dead link]
  20. ^ 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. 
  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 Archived 2009-11-28 at the Wayback Machine.

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