Scale-free Network & H1N1

The influenza viruses that caused Hong Kong Flu.

Even with the flu outbreak around the world, some people believe that Singapore was over-doing it with the precautions. With the first case of H1N1 announced recently, maybe there’s reason to, well.. not exactly panic but be more alert.


  • Singapore has an area of 692.7 sq km. Ranking 187th.
  • It has an estimated population of between 4.6 to 4.8 million depending on your sources. Ranking in 114th.
  • This gives us a population density of approximately 6,800 per sq km. This place us at an incredible 2nd worldwide.

Basically, this means that our country exists with super critical population; consider every individual as a node and each relationship we have with another a connection, this relationship can be described as a scale-free network.

Unlike a remote town in Australia where the network could be small and contained with a few nodes interconnected with each other, here in sunny Singapore, you have potentially hundreds of connections because not only are you connected to your friends and family, you also have connections to the commuters you share public transport with, people you walk by, people at your work place / school.

Therefore, a infection in that remote town will eventually kill itself off and collapse in that contained community, one here could potentially propagate very rapid through our much denser and better connected network, potentially causing an epidemic.

Anyway, the first H1N1 case is quarantined at the Communicable Disease Centre along with suspects, stamping off their connection to the rest of the country; I’m sure they’re doing all they can to keep the rest of us safe. ;)

I’m not saying we should all go into hysteria mode now but to those who feel we do not need to care, maybe it’s time to be a little less ignorant.

Edit: There are 3 more confirmed cases.

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