Title: Measuring the international digital divide: an application of Kohonen self-organising maps

Authors: Joel I. Deichmann, Abdolreza Eshghi, Dominique Haughton, Sam Woolford, Selin Sayek

Addresses: Data Analytics Research Team (DART), Bentley College, 175 Forest Street, Waltham, MA 02452-4705, USA. ' Data Analytics Research Team (DART), Bentley College, 175 Forest Street, Waltham, MA 02452-4705, USA. ' Data Analytics Research Team (DART), Bentley College, 175 Forest Street, Waltham, MA 02452-4705, USA. ' Data Analytics Research Team (DART), Bentley College, 175 Forest Street, Waltham, MA 02452-4705, USA. ' Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

Abstract: With the help of a Kohonen self-organising algorithm, this paper presents a mapping and analysis of the global digital divide along with its main drivers. Several broad groups and subgroups are identified, consisting of countries that are similar in their digital development and in a number of other attributes. We find that the digital divide seems to occur synchronously with divisions in income, social, demographic and infrastructure measures. By examining a large dataset of 160 countries over a short period of three years, we find evidence of both convergence and divergence among the countries over time. We expect these findings to inform the ongoing debate on drivers of the International Digital Divide (IDD). In addition, this paper provides a novel visualisation of the digital divide and its predictors on a two-dimensional grid. Extensions of this work, with the availability of more years of data, could investigate the potential convergence of countries to particular patterns of digital development.

Keywords: international digital divide; IDD; Kohonen maps; self-organising maps; SOM; visualisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJKL.2007.016833

International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, 2007 Vol.3 No.6, pp.552 - 575

Available online: 24 Jan 2008 *

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