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A Deterministic Approach to the Spread of Rumors

Ideas, products and messages spread in ways that resemble the transmission dynamics of viruses. We begin with the same framework as Daley-Kendall, which classifies individuals as susceptibles, "spreaders", and "stiflers", and models rumor spreading as an epidemic. We look at the implications of heterogeneity in the susceptible and spreader classes on the spread of a rumor, an aspect not considered in the Daley-Kendall model. Finally, the dynamics of rumor spreading in chat rooms that are accessible to a large number of groups are explored under the assumption of simple, local (neighborhood) dynamics. The characterization of dynamics is carried out through a combination of analytical and numerical results. Efforts to determine the most effective ways to stop or accelerate the spread of rumors are also discussed.

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K. Thompson, Howard University
R. Castro Estrada, Universidad Metropolitana
D. Daugherty, California State Polytechnic University
A. CintrĂ³n-Arias, Cornell Universtiy