Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Erdös number is 4!!!

The Erdős number describes the "collaborative distance" between a person and mathematician Paul Erdős, as measured by authorship of mathematical papers.

It was created by friends as a humorous tribute to the enormous output of Erdős, one of the most prolific modern writers of mathematical papers, and has become well-known in scientific circles as a tongue-in-cheek measurement of mathematical prominence.

Paul Erdős was an influential and itinerant mathematician, who spent a large portion of his later life living out of a suitcase and writing papers with those of his colleagues willing to give him room and board. He published more papers during his life than any other mathematician in history (at least 1400).

To be assigned an Erdős number, an author must co-write a mathematical paper with an author with a finite Erdős number. Paul Erdős is the one person having an Erdős number of zero. For any author other than Erdős, if the lowest Erdős number of all of his coauthors is k, then the author's Erdős number is k + 1.

Erdős wrote around 1,500 mathematical articles in his lifetime, mostly co-written. He had 511 direct collaborators; these are the people with Erdős number 1. The people who have collaborated with them (but not with Erdős himself) have an Erdős number of 2 (8,162 people as of 2007), those who have collaborated with people who have an Erdős number of 2 (but not with Erdős or anyone with an Erdős number of 1) have an Erdős number of 3, and so forth. A person with no such coauthorship chain connecting to Erdős has an Erdős number of infinity (or an undefined one).

There is room for ambiguity over what constitutes a link between two authors; the Erdős Number Project Web site says "Our criterion for inclusion of an edge between vertices u and v is some research collaboration between them resulting in a published work. Any number of additional co-authors is permitted," but they do not include non-research publications such as elementary textbooks, joint editorships, obituaries, and the like. The “Erdős number of the second kind” restricts assignment of Erdős numbers to papers with only two collaborators.

Article from wikipedia

My Erdös number is 4 via the link: Savvas A. Chatzichristofis (2010) -> Avi Arampatzis (2004) -> Marc J. van Kreveld (1998) -> Boris Aronov (1994) -> Paul Erdös !


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