Robert Hoyer is a senior at New York University, where he is developing a major that combines systems theory, the philosophy of information, and social psychology. He is particularly interested in coincidental phenomena and the role uncertainty plays in the development of truth. His other interests include various topics in physics, mathematics, and computer science.
Project: Synchronicity and Coincidental Phenomena in Virtual and Idealized Social Networks
Coincidental phenomena are a noteworthy and unusual aspect of the human experience. They appear to occur randomly, and yet they also appear to defy expected probabilities. They have an almost mystical quality to them that has been reflected historically throughout domains of human thought. To understand the mechanics behind coincidence would lead to a profound leap in human consciousness, revealing clues to the fundamental nature of how humans and other living creatures interact. Other than possibly providing answers to fundamental existential questions, an understanding of coincidence would tremendously impact a variety of fields, including sociology, psychology, economics, and marketing.
This project begins to approach the following questions:
Is there a mechanism behind coincidence? Is coincidence a statistical abnormality? Is the significance of coincidence a psychological misperception? What practical applications can be derived from approaching the problem of coincidence?
Specifically this project is the first step in answering these questions through an analysis of randomness—more specifically, an analysis of the statistical characteristics of random walks. Further, multiple random walks will be analyzed in relation to one another as they evolve within the same space. From this research it is hoped to be able to judge the potential relationship between coincidence and randomness as well as whether randomness / random walks can serve a utility in subsequent studies.
Favorite Three-Color Cellular Automaton