Work in mathematics
Odlyzko received his B.S. and M.S. in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975.
In the field of mathematics he has published extensively on analytic number theory
, computational number theory
and computational complexity
, and error-correcting codes
. In the early 1970s, he was a co-author (with D. Kahaner and Gian-Carlo Rota
) of one of the founding papers of the modern umbral calculus
. In 1985 he and Herman te Riele
disproved the Mertens conjecture
. In mathematics, he is probably known best for his work on the Riemann zeta function
, which led to the invention of improved algorithms, including the Odlyzko–Schönhage algorithm
, and large-scale computations, which stimulated extensive research on connections between the zeta function and random matrix
Work on electronic communication
In 1998, he and Kerry Coffman were the first to show that one of the great inspirations for the Internet bubble, the myth of "Internet traffic doubling every 100 days," was false.
In the paper "Content is Not King", published in First Monday
in January 2001, he argues that
- the entertainment industry is a small industry compared with other industries, notably the telecommunications industry;
- people are more interested in communication than entertainment;
- and therefore that entertainment "content" is not the killer app for the Internet.
In the paper "Metcalfe's Law is Wrong",
Andrew Odlyzko argues that the incremental value of adding one person to a network of n
people is approximately the n
th harmonic number
, so the total value of the network is approximately n
. Since this curves upward (unlike Sarnoff's law
), it implies that Metcalfe's conclusion – that there is a critical mass
in networks, leading to a network effect
– is qualitatively correct. But since this linearithmic function
does not grow as rapidly as Metcalfe's law
, it implies that many of the quantitative expectations based on Metcalfe's law were excessively optimistic.
For example, by Metcalfe, if a hypothetical network of 100,000 members has a value of $1M, doubling its membership would increase its value 4X (200,0002
/100,0002). However Odlyzko predicts its value would only slightly more than double: 2e5*log(2e5)/(1e5*log(1e5).
Empirical tests, in part stimulated by this criticism, strongly support Metcalfe's law.
- ^ "Profile: Andrew Odlyzko", TLI, University of Minnesota.
- ^ Andrew Odlyzko at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- ^ Erdős number project.
- ^ Density of Odd Integers.
- ^ "The size and growth rate of the Internet," K. G. Coffman and A. M. Odlyzko, First Monday 3(10) (October 1998), http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/620/541 Archived 2012-04-12 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ https://www.iacr.org/fellows/
- ^ a b "Metcalfe's Law is Wrong". Bob Briscoe, Andrew Odlyzko, and Benjamin Tilly, July 2006 IEEE Spectrum.
- ^ Zhang, Xing-Zhou; Liu, Jing-Jie; Xu, Zhi-Wei (March 2015). "Tencent and Facebook Data Validate Metcalfe's Law". Journal of Computer Science and Technology. 30 (2): 246–251. doi:10.1007/s11390-015-1518-1. ISSN 1000-9000. S2CID 207288368.
Last edited on 18 March 2021, at 09:02
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