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Dirk Brockmann - "Feel Sick? Follow the Money!" at Northeastern University

"Feel sick? Follow the money!" - The scaling laws of human travel
Dirk Brockmann
 Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen, 

Thursday, January 16, 2008
4:00 pm

In light of increasing international trade and intensified human mobility, 
the knowledge of dynamical and statistical properties of human travel is 
of fundamental importance. I will report on a recent discovery of 
universal scaling laws in global human movement patterns. Based on the 
idea that the geographic circulation of money is an excellent proxy for 
human travel, we analyzed the movement patterns of over half a million 
individual dollar bills registered at the popular online bill-tracking 
website www.wheresgeorge.com. We were thus able to assess the statistical 
properties of human travel with a high precision.  We found that the 
dispersal of money is reminiscent of scale-free random walks known as 
flights, which has important implications for the spread of modern human 
infectious diseases.

Center for Complex Network Research 
Northeastern University
Director: Dr. Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
Churchill Hall, Clifford Lounge
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
n leete neu edu or (617) 373 4580

Nicole Leete

Assistant to Professor László Barabási
Tel: (617) 373-4580, Fax: (617) 373-4671
Email: n leete neu edu