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Braess’ Paradox

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I've had to wait sixty years to understand why teams reduced by losing a player, or having a key player injured, often do very well.


IT IS the second game of the 1999 US National Basketball Association play-offs- the New York Knicks vs the Indiana Pacers. The eighth-seeded Knicks are holding their own against the number 2 seeds when their best player, Patrick Ewing, tears his Achilles tendon. All seems lost with the Pacers heavily favoured for the rest of the series. Yet against all odds, the Knicks go on to win the series 4-2 and qualify for the finals.


The Knicks's success against the Pacers was so unexpected that the story behind it has since become a legend, even gaining its own name. The so-called "Ewing effect" has been evoked by pundits to explain sporting victories in which an underdog inexplicably triumphs. 

It's normally put down to luck but there is more to it. Network theory and Braess' Paradox.


Braess’ Paradox Infects Social Networks Too, Say Computer Scientists









UMass Professor Anna Nagurney is an expert in transportation systems. She speaks with Carrie Saldo about the Braess Paradox, which she also discusses as part of the PBS Program America Revealed (airing April 11). Nagurney is also Director of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks in the Department of Finance & Operations Management at UMass’s Isenberg School of Management.



Edited by knocker

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