Knowledge epidemics and population dynamics models for describing idea diffusion

Por • 6 ene, 2012 • Sección: Opinion

Nikolay K. Vitanov, Marcel R. Ausloos

Abstract: The diffusion of ideas is often closely connected to the creation and diffusion of knowledge and to the technological evolution of society. Because of this, knowledge creation, exchange and its subsequent transformation into innovations for improved welfare and economic growth is briefly described from a historical point of view. Next, three approaches are discussed for modeling the diffusion of ideas in the areas of science and technology, through (i) deterministic, (ii) stochastic, and (iii) statistical approaches. These are illustrated through their corresponding population dynamics and epidemic models relative to the spreading of ideas, knowledge and innovations. The deterministic dynamical models are considered to be appropriate for analyzing the evolution of large and small societal, scientific and technological systems when the influence of fluctuations is insignificant. Stochastic models are appropriate when the system of interest is small but when the fluctuations become significant for its evolution. Finally statistical approaches and models based on the laws and distributions of Lotka, Bradford, Yule, Zipf-Mandelbrot, and others, provide much useful information for the analysis of the evolution of systems in which development is closely connected to the process of idea diffusion.

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