Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Time decay melting

I learned about time decay of information while working for the Chicago Stock Exchange as Director of Special and Strategic Projects some years back. You see stock exchanges get paid for "tape prints" which is a report that a trade occurred...each one goes across the famous "ticker."

When a tape print occurs, a stock exchange gets a few dollars for publishing that information. In a market, knowing the price of a good is all-important, so recent stock prints on a stock are vital data.

This information decays rapidly. With stocks, 15 minute old prints are generally available for free to organizations like online stock information sources.

In a similar way, all networks decay. They are under constant time contraction but the rates vary depending on the type of relationship. The more structure, the less rapid the decay. On the other hand, the more interaction, the more problematic the structure. Time and interaction are key variables for structure.

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