## Who is the Center of the Hollywood Universe?

Hopefully, you've played around a bit with The Oracle of Bacon and discovered how few steps are necessary to link just about anybody who has ever been in a movie to Kevin Bacon, but could there be some actor or actress who is even closer to the center of the Hollywood universe? The answer turns out to be: yes.

By processing all of the 2,350,958 actors and actresses in TMDB, I discovered that there are currently 574 people who are better centers than Kevin Bacon! What does it mean for one person to be a "better" center than another? Consider the following breakdown of people by Bacon Number (as of May 26th, 2024):

Bacon Number# of people
0 1
1 2,175
2 238,186
3 752,329
4 286,680
5 38,307
6 6,184
7 1,297
8 439
9 134
10 33
11 15
12 2

That means that there is 1 person who can be linked in 0 steps (Bacon himself), 2,175 people who can be linked in 1 step, 238,186 people who can be linked in 2 steps, etc. So we can compute the average Bacon Number as follows:

$\begin{array}{c}\frac{0路1+1路2175+2路238186+3路752329+4路286680+5路38307+6路6184+7路1297+8路439+9路134+10路33+11路15+12路2}{1+2175+238186+752329+286680+38307+6184+1297+439+134+33+15+2}\\ =\frac{4125209}{1325782}\\ =3.112\end{array}$

So the average Bacon Number is about 3.112. We can compare that with the average Jackson Number for actor Samuel L. Jackson. The breakdown is as follows (as of May 26th, 2024):

Jackson Number# of people
0 1
1 5,615
2 355,605
3 752,429
4 181,827
5 24,736
6 4,181
7 904
8 333
9 97
10 37
11 15
12 2

By computing the average of these numbers we see that the average Jackson Number is about 2.912 making Jackson a better center than Bacon. This is not to denigrate Mr. Bacon, and it should be noted that being the 575th best center out of 2,350,958 people makes Bacon a better center than 99% of the people who have ever appeared in a feature film. A list of the 1,000 best centers in the Hollywood universe is available for your enjoyment.

Is there a "worst" center (or most obscure actor) in the Hollywood universe? Of course. I won't tell you the name of the person who produces the highest average number—won't you have more fun finding him/her yourself?—but his/her table looks like this (as of May 26th, 2024):

XXXXXX Number# of people
0 1
1 2
2 11
3 3
4 25
5 12
6 5
7 2
8 15
9 15
10 169
11 10,143
12 227,693
13 825,857
14 225,273
15 29,721
16 5,133
17 1,161
18 382
19 118
20 41

That's an average of 13.044!