Math Snippet: Graphs, Instagram, Internet


I’m taking an online course on graph theory now and the lecturer is so good that listening to him is like watching an engaging movie.  His language is simple enough and he does not assume any previous knowledge of higher level math (just high school knowledge). For now, here are some very basic snippets about graphs:

Imagine we have a classroom full of desks that can seat two people.  We could represent people as dots (vertices) and connect these dots with lines (or edges).  We have created a graph that provides us with information about the pairs of students, the ways they are paired up.  More formally, graphs are structures that describe pairwise relationships between objects.

Graphs can get more complicated though. You know how Instagram works? One person can ‘follow’ you but you are not obliged to ‘follow’ them back (as opposed to the situation where two students sit together at the same desk).  This Instagram-like situation would be described by an oriented graph – a graph where each edge has a direction.

One very common example of a graph is Internet. There are many links that link back to each other, or links that do not have such connection. There are also loops – but that’s way beyond our ‘math snippet’ format.

Hope you’re going to google graphs!

Have you taken a cool online course lately? What prompted you to take it?

If you happen to speak Russian, check this course out even if you are not into math


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