My Erdös Number

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After reading a post by Ora and one by Tim Finin, I tried to figure my own Erdös Number out. First, taking Ora's path, I came up with an Erdös of 7:

Paul Erdös - Stephan Hedeniemi - Robert Tarjan - David Karger - Lynn Stein - Jim Hendler - Steffen Staab - Denny Vrandečić

But then I looked more, and with Tim's path I could cut it down to 6:

Paul Erdös - Aviczir Fraenkl - Yaacov Yesha - Yelena Yesha - Tim Finin - Steffen Staab - Denny Vrandečić

The point that unnerved me most was that the data was actually there. Not only a subscription-only database for mathematical papers (why the heck is the metadata subscription only?), but there's DBLP, there's the list of Erdös 1 and 2 people on the Erdös Number project, there's Flink, and still, I couldn't mash up the data. This syntactic web sucks.

The only idea that brought me further - without spending even more time with that - was a Google search for "my erdös number" "semantic web", in the hope to find some collegues in my field that already have found and published their own Erdös number. And yep, this worked quite fine, and showed me two further, totally disjunctive paths to the one above:

Paul Erdös - Charles J. Coulborn - A. E. Brouwer - Peter van Emde Boas - Zhsisheng Huang - Peter Haase - Denny Vrandečić


Paul Erdös - Menachem Magidor - Karl Schlechta - Franz Baader - Ian Horrocks - Sean Bechhofer - Denny Vrandečić

So that's and Erdös of 6 on at least 3 totally different paths. Nice.

What surprises me - isn't this scenario obviously a great training project for the Semantic Web? Far easier than Flink, I suppose, and still interesting for a wider audience as well, like Mathematicians and Noble Laureates? (Oh, OK, not them, they get covered manually here).


I wrote the post quite a time ago. A colleague of mine notified me in the meantime that I have a Erdös of only 4 by the following path:

Paul Erdös - E. Rodney Canfield - Guo-Quiang Zhang - Markus Krötzsch - Denny Vrandečić

Wow. It's the social web that gave the best answer.

2019 Update

Another update, after more than a dozen years: I was informed that I have now an Erdös number of 3 by the following path:

Paul Erdös - Anthony B. Evans - Pascal Hitzler - Denny Vrandečić

I would be very surprised if this post requires any further updates.

Originally published on Semantic Nodix

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