Thursday, August 02, 2012

Gossip and Twitter

I had to explain gossip protocols to a group of students the other day. Now in the past when I've done this I've gone through some worked examples, using people and rumour mongering, followed by a more formal analysis of the algorithms underlying the various protocols. However, this time I decided to use something that most people have direct experience with: Twitter. Using some well documented examples of how gossip and rumours spread via Twitter, as well as a real-time experiment with the students, it seemed to go down much easier. So I think I'll stick with Twitter as a good example of how gossip protocols can work. Of course it's not the full picture, but it's a good way of broaching the subject.

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