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News From the Field
Rational or Random? Professor Models How People Send E-mails

November 19, 2008

Luis Amaral How do people respond to e-mails? Rationally, responding to the most important first, making sure the process is efficient? Or randomly, when they are at their computers or when they have time, without any regard to efficiency? After studying e-mails sent and received from more than 3,000 e-mail accounts at a European university over a three-month period, a Northwestern University research team created a mathematical model that shows people send e-mail randomly, but in cycles. Full Story

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Northwestern University

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2015, its budget is $7.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 48,000 competitive proposals for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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