Why everyone knows Darth Vader
Share Now on:
French data scientist Kirell Benzi likes looking at relationships. He also really, really likes “Star Wars.”
“I have this nice poster of Darth Vader in my office, just giving me strength for work,” he said.
So, he decided to apply his research as a PhD student at the Swiss Institute of Technology…to the “Star Wars” universe. He created a computer program that crawls the Wookiepedia (the Wikipedia for people who really, really like Star Wars) and maps the relationships between the different characters.
“The two most connected characters are Anakin Skywalker, or Darth Vader, and Palpatine, the Chancellor,” said Benzi. “Anakin Skywalker has more than 1500 connections.” Benzi found over 20,000 characters in the universe all together, spanning a period of 36,000 years.
The networking program could also be used for things besides mapping relationships in an imaginary universe. Benzi says it could be used to identify potential terrorists by looking at their Facebook friendship, for examples.
“In the case of a terrorist network, say we only know some of the members, and we would like to infer and predict other members of the network. We’d like to characterize the relationships between the nodes of this network,” he said.
Benzi isn’t done with “Star Wars” yet, though. He’s planning to map the buzz that resulted as a release of his map — yes, a network of people talking about the network.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.