Complex World
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Complex World
Cutting Edge Research about Complex Systems
Curated by Claudia Mihai
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Telecommunications data show civic dividing lines in major countries

Telecommunications data show civic dividing lines in major countries | Complex World | Scoop.it

Many residents of Britain, Italy, and Belgium imagine there to be a kind of north-south divide in their countries, marking a barrier between different social groups and regional characteristics. Now a new study by MIT researchers reveals that such divides can be seen in the patterns of communication in those countries and others.


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How far should we trust scientific models?

How far should we trust scientific models? | Complex World | Scoop.it

Here’s a simple recipe for doing science. Find a plausible theory for how some bits of the world behave, make predictions, test them experimentally. If the results fit the predictions, then the theory might describe what’s really going on. If not, you need to think again. Scientific work is vastly diverse and full of fascinating complexities. Still, the recipe captures crucial features of how most of it has been done for the past few hundred years.

Now, however, there is a new ingredient. Computer simulation, only a few decades old, is transforming scientific projects as mind-bending as plotting the evolution of the cosmos, and as mundane as predicting traffic snarl-ups. What should we make of this scientific nouvelle cuisine? While it is related to experiment, all the action is in silico — not in the world, or even the lab. It might involve theory, transformed into equations, then computer code. Or it might just incorporate some rough approximations, which are good enough to get by with. Made digestible, the results affect us all.

As computer modelling has become essential to more and more areas of science, it has also become at least a partial guide to headline-grabbing policy issues, from flood control and the conserving of fish stocks, to climate change and — heaven help us — the economy. But do politicians and officials understand the limits of what these models can do? Are they all as good, or as bad, as each other? If not, how can we tell which is which?

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Peculiar traffic routes suggest hijacking headaches

Peculiar traffic routes suggest hijacking headaches | Complex World | Scoop.it

Findings from Internet intelligence company Renesys sound an alert to a hijacking practice in the form of traffic misdirection on the Internet. A November 19 blog on the Renesys site has since caught the attention of a wider press: "Who is sending Internet traffic on long, strange trips?" asked a headline in The Christian Science Monitor earlier this month. The Renesys blog author, Jim Cowie, Chief Technology Officer, said that "We have actually observed live Man-In-the-Middle (MITM) hijacks on more than 60 days so far this year." He said about 1,500 individual IP blocks have been hijacked in events lasting from minutes to days by attackers working from various countries. Simply put, data to and from finance firms, net phone services and governments was re-routed in several attacks this year. As Michael Mimosa of Threatpost noted, "Attackers are accessing routers running on the border gateway protocol (BGP) and injecting additional hops that redirect large blocks of Internet traffic to locations where it can be monitored and even manipulated before being sent to its intended destination.

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Efficient discovery of overlapping communities in massive networks

Efficient discovery of overlapping communities in massive networks | Complex World | Scoop.it

Detecting overlapping communities is essential to analyzing and exploring natural networks such as social networks, biological networks, and citation networks. However, most existing approaches do not scale to the size of networks that we regularly observe in the real world. In this paper, we develop a scalable approach to community detection that discovers overlapping communities in massive real-world networks. Our approach is based on a Bayesian model of networks that allows nodes to participate in multiple communities, and a corresponding algorithm that naturally interleaves subsampling from the network and updating an estimate of its communities. We demonstrate how we can discover the hidden community structure of several real-world networks, including 3.7 million US patents, 575,000 physics articles from the arXiv preprint server, and 875,000 connected Web pages from the Internet. Furthermore, we demonstrate on large simulated networks that our algorithm accurately discovers the true community structure. This paper opens the door to using sophisticated statistical models to analyze massive networks.

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ComplexInsight's curator insight, December 31, 2013 4:02 AM

Network visualization tools like Gephi and analysis tools like SNAP are becoming essential components in understanding, mapping and comprehending inter-relating networks and network processes. This is a good paper that gives insight into appliying networking analysis tools to identify otherwise hidden community structures in apparhently disconnected or partially connected sets which will be hugely important in large scale network analysis.

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The Old Europe: The Danube Valley Civilization, 5000-3500 BC

The Old Europe:The Danube Valley Civilization, 5000-3500 BC▕ The European Cradle - The First High Culture in The World Originated in The Balkans, Europe 
Danube Valley Civilization script is the oldest writing in the world. Before the glory that was Greece and Rome, even before the first cities of Mesopotamia or temples along the Nile, there lived in the Lower Danube Valley and the Balkan foothills people who were ahead of their time in art, technology and long-distance trade. Old Europe was among the most culturally rich regions in the world. Its inhabitants lived in prosperous agricultural towns. The ubiquitous goddess figurines found in their houses and shrines have triggered intense debates about women's roles. 
The people of this region founded new settlements in the Danube Valley. Scientists call this society Danube Civilization. This people were the first in history who used copper tools, they lived in two-storied houses and sat on chairs, while the rest of the world was stuck in the middle of the Stone Age. And they invented writing. oldest copper mines of the world, bake bread using ovens that are 8000 years old.This culture lived 2000 years in peace as an equivalent society. But then, they discovered gold. This marks the end of the Danube Civilization. Warriors from the russian steppe extinguished this society 6000 years ago. The era of money and power began.The heart of Old Europe was in the lower Danube valley, in contemporary Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Moldova. Old European coppersmiths were the most advanced metal artisans in the world. Their intense interest in acquiring copper, Aegean shells, and other rare valuables gave rise to far-reaching trading networks. In their graves, the bodies of Old European chieftains were adorned with pounds of gold and copper ornaments. Their funerals were without parallel in the Near East or Egypt. 


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Benefit of bees even bigger than thought

Benefit of bees even bigger than thought | Complex World | Scoop.it

Bees have a much greater economic value than is widely known, according to a scientific probe into strawberry-growing published on Wednesday.

Strawberries pollinated by bees were of far higher commercial value than fruit that was self-pollinated or pollinated by the wind.

They were heavier, firmer and redder and had a longer shelf life, researchers in Germany found.

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More Tweets, More Votes: Social Media as a Quantitative Indicator of Political Behavior

More Tweets, More Votes: Social Media as a Quantitative Indicator of Political Behavior | Complex World | Scoop.it

Is social media a valid indicator of political behavior? There is considerable debate about the validity of data extracted from social media for studying offline behavior. To address this issue, we show that there is a statistically significant association between tweets that mention a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives and his or her subsequent electoral performance. We demonstrate this result with an analysis of 542,969 tweets mentioning candidates selected from a random sample of 3,570,054,618, as well as Federal Election Commission data from 795 competitive races in the 2010 and 2012 U.S. congressional elections. This finding persists even when controlling for incumbency, district partisanship, media coverage of the race, time, and demographic variables such as the district's racial and gender composition. Our findings show that reliable data about political behavior can be extracted from social media.

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Humans are becoming more carnivorous

Humans are becoming more carnivorous | Complex World | Scoop.it

The fast-growing economies of China and India are driving a global increase in meat consumption, cancelling out decreases elsewhere, according to a comprehensive study of global food consumption.

The work, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, takes a detailed look at what people eat, as well as trends from one country to the next. It is also the first time that researchers have calculated humanity's trophic level, a metric used in ecology to position species in the food chain.

The metric puts plants and algae, which make their own food, at trophic level 1. Rabbits, which eat plants, occupy level 2. Foxes, which eat herbivores, sit at trophic level 3. Cod, a fish that eats other fish, claims level 4. Polar bears and orcas, which have few or no predators and eat other mammals with gusto, hold the top positions — levels up to 5.5.

The study, led by Sylvain Bonhommeau, a fisheries scientist at the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea in Sète, estimates that humanity's global median trophic level was 2.21 in 2009, which puts us on a par with other omnivores, such as pigs and anchovies, in the global food web. “We are closer to herbivore than carnivore,” says Bonhommeau. “It changes the preconception of being top predator.”

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Hedonometer

Hedonometer | Complex World | Scoop.it

Hedonometer.org is an instrument that measures the happiness of large populations in real time.

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luiy's curator insight, February 5, 2014 6:16 AM
Happiness

It’s what most people say they want. So how do we know how happy people are? You can’t improve or understand what you can’t measure. In a blow to happiness, we’re very good at measuring economic indices and this means we tend to focus on them. With hedonometer.org we’ve created an instrument that measures the happiness of large populations in real time.

 

Our hedonometer is based on people’s online expressions, capitalizing on data-rich social media, and we’re measuring how people present themselves to the outside world. For our first version of hedonometer.org, we’re using Twitter as a source but in principle we can expand to any data source in any language (more below). We’ll also be adding an API soon.

 

So this is just a start — we invite you to explore the Twitter time series and let us know what you think.

Eli Levine's curator insight, February 5, 2014 11:03 AM

Isn't this what we're all looking for?

Happiness, health and well being?

 

There's a very good reason how Thomas Jefferson said "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", rather than property.

 

Yet we've confused the two to such an extent that we end up having neither on the general, collective sense (which basically boils down to being the majority of the individuals living in a society).

 

Think about it.

Jean-Michel Livowsky's curator insight, February 6, 2014 6:42 AM

La mesure électronique du bonheur et du bien-être... Le Bhoutan et le «bonheur national brut»  n'ont qu'a bien se tenir, il est vrai que le concept a été enterré depuis peu...

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Early-warning signals of topological collapse in interbank networks

Early-warning signals of topological collapse in interbank networks | Complex World | Scoop.it

The financial crisis clearly illustrated the importance of characterizing the level of ‘systemic’ risk associated with an entire credit network, rather than with single institutions. However, the interplay between financial distress and topological changes is still poorly understood. Here we analyze the quarterly interbank exposures among Dutch banks over the period 1998–2008, ending with the crisis. After controlling for the link density, many topological properties display an abrupt change in 2008, providing a clear – but unpredictable – signature of the crisis. By contrast, if the heterogeneity of banks' connectivity is controlled for, the same properties show a gradual transition to the crisis, starting in 2005 and preceded by an even earlier period during which anomalous debt loops could have led to the underestimation of counter-party risk. These early-warning signals are undetectable if the network is reconstructed from partial bank-specific data, as routinely done. We discuss important implications for bank regulatory policies.

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Economic development can only buy happiness up to a 'sweet spot' of $36,000 GDP per person

Economic development can only buy happiness up to a 'sweet spot' of $36,000 GDP per person | Complex World | Scoop.it
Economists have shed light on the vexed question of whether economic development can buy happiness – and it seems that life satisfaction actually dips among people living in the wealthiest countries.
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The principle of free movement is one of the most valued principles by the EU citizens

The principle of free movement is one of the most valued principles by the EU citizens | Complex World | Scoop.it

"The principle of free movement is one of the most valued principles by the EU citizens. There is clear evidence of its economic benefits but we are also aware of the challenges that this can also bring, particularly for local communities and services, and EU rules already include measures to prevent abuse." There was also sharp criticism from László Andor, the EU employment commissioner, who warned that the new benefit restrictions risk portraying Britain as a "nasty country", and Viviane Reding, vice-president of the EU executive, who said freedom of movement is "non-negotiable". "If Britain wants to leave the single market, you should say so. But if Britain wants to stay a part of the single market, free movement applies. You cannot have your cake and eat it, Mr Cameron," she told Reuters.


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Water in cells behaves in complex and intricate ways

Water in cells behaves in complex and intricate ways | Complex World | Scoop.it

In a sort of biological "spooky action at a distance," water in a cell slows down in the tightest confines between proteins and develops the ability to affect other proteins much farther away, University of Michigan researchers have discovered.

On a fundamental level, the findings show some of the complex and unexpected ways that water behaves inside cells. In a practical sense, they could provide insights into how and why proteins clump together in diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Understanding how proteins aggregate could help researchers figure out how to prevent them from doing so.

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3D printing used as a tool to explain theoretical physics

3D printing used as a tool to explain theoretical physics | Complex World | Scoop.it

Students may soon be able to reach out and touch some of the theoretical concepts they are taught in their physics classes thanks to a novel idea devised by a group of researchers from Imperial College London.

In new study published today in the journal EPL, the researchers have successfully demonstrated how complex theoretical physics can be transformed into a physical object using a 3D printer.

In just eight hours and at the cost of around 15 euros, they were able to use a commercially available 3D printer to create their own 8 cm3 object based on a mathematical model that described how forest fires can be started and how they eventually spread over time.

The researchers have labelled the approach "Sculplexity"—standing for sculptures of complexity—and believe it could also be used to produce works of art based on science, or transform the way that ideas and concepts are presented and discussed within the scientific community.


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Charts of economic development: a fantastic journey

Charts of economic development: a fantastic journey | Complex World | Scoop.it

Venezuelan economist Ricardo Hausmann and Chilean physicist César Hidalgo, in a joint effort of Harvard University and the Massachutes Institute of Technology MIT, draw a new world map of economic adventure, and suggest the Earth may not be flat.

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Mathematical Formulation of Multilayer Networks

Mathematical Formulation of Multilayer Networks | Complex World | Scoop.it

Describing a social network based on a particular type of human social interaction, say, Facebook, is conceptually simple: a set of nodes representing the people involved in such a network, linked by their Facebook connections. But, what kind of network structure would one have if all modes of social interactions between the same people are taken into account and if one mode of interaction can influence another? Here, the notion of a “multiplex” network becomes necessary. Indeed, the scientific interest in multiplex networks has recently seen a surge. However, a fundamental scientific language that can be used consistently and broadly across the many disciplines that are involved in complex systems research was still missing. This absence is a major obstacle to further progress in this topical area of current interest. In this paper, we develop such a language, employing the concept of tensors that is widely used to describe a multitude of degrees of freedom associated with a single entity.

Our tensorial formalism provides a unified framework that makes it possible to describe both traditional “monoplex” (i.e., single-type links) and multiplex networks. Each type of interaction between the nodes is described by a single-layer network. The different modes of interaction are then described by different layers of networks. But, a node from one layer can be linked to another node in any other layer, leading to “cross talks” between the layers. High-dimensional tensors naturally capture such multidimensional patterns of connectivity. Having first developed a rigorous tensorial definition of such multilayer structures, we have also used it to generalize the many important diagnostic concepts previously known only to traditional monoplex networks, including degree centrality, clustering coefficients, and modularity.

We think that the conceptual simplicity and the fundamental rigor of our formalism will power the further development of our understanding of multiplex networks.

 
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Danube Valley Civilization script is the oldest writing in the world

Danube Valley Script is The Oldest Writing in The World! The European Cradle. The First High Culture in The World Originated in The Balkans Europe - Danube Valley Civilization.
A german scientist discovered writings from the Stone Age, that may change our understanding of history.

From the wild and untouched region of the Balkans comes a remarkable story, that shatters our knowledge about the origins of civilization. According to latest scientific findings, the people from the so called Danube Civilization lived in cities, used copper tools and script thousands of years earlier than any other high culture in the world. But conservative historians reject the idea of an early civilization in Europe, that existed 8000 years ago. This documentary accompanies a brilliant scientist on his journey to the Danube Valley. Harald Haarmann wants to convince the Mesopotamian Scholars. If he discovers the oldest sentence ever written, he would have changed history!

Harald Haarmann is the world leading specialist of ancient scripts and languages. He was appointed to professorships in Germany, Japan an the USA. He speaks nine languages, wrote over 50 books. A lot of them became standard works in the domain of languages. According to him, the Danube Script is the oldest writing in the world! With this theory, Harald Haarmann can change history. He is a highly recognised scientist who risks his reputation with this quest. Because now, he wants to prove his theory once for all.


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Birds, bees, and banks: lessons from collapsing ecosystems

Birds, bees, and banks: lessons from collapsing ecosystems | Complex World | Scoop.it

Figuring out why financial crises emerge in seemingly stable economies is tough. Widespread collapses are notoriously difficult to predict - to do so requires a comprehensive view of a complex, interconnected system. But help may be at hand: experts in finance are now looking to certain fields of ecology to help provide this viewpoint.

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RMGC in wider tax fraud probe

RMGC in wider tax fraud probe | Complex World | Scoop.it

Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC), the company aiming to start Europe’s biggest gold mining project in Rosia Montana, has been included in an ongoing tax fraud investigation worth EUR 35 million involving a former government adviser.

According to media reports, RMGC has paid over RON 1 million (around EUR 224,684) to Kadok Interprest, a ghost company that was part of an illegal chain of firms designed to generate hefty returns through artificial transactions.

Catalin Hosu, RMGC’s spokesperson, said that prosecutors started a criminal investigation against a company from which RMGC acquired goods and services. The Ploiesti Court of Appeal decided to extend the investigation against all companies that had a contractual relation with the firm accused of tax fraud.

“At present, the extension of the investigation refers to 43 companies, including RMGC, and does include any persons employed by the company or from its management,” said the spokespersons quoted by TV station Digi 24.


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Data Mining Reveals the Secret to Getting Good Answers

Data Mining Reveals the Secret to Getting Good Answers | Complex World | Scoop.it
If you want a good answer, ask a decent question. That’s the startling conclusion to a study of online Q&As.

That may sound like a truism, but these guys point out that there has been no evidence to support this insight, until now.

“To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to quantitatively validate the correlation between the question quality and its associated answer quality,” say Yuan and co.

These guys began their work by studying the entire corpus of questions and answers on Stack Overflow between July 2008 and August 2011. That’s some 2 million questions from 800,000 people who produced over 4 million answers and 7 million comments.  They also considered metadata, such as the number of upvotes and down votes for each entry.

Until now, most attempts to evaluate the quality of user input have looked only at the votes associated with questions or the votes associated with answers. For example, a good answer has more upvotes than downvotes and the bigger the difference, the better the result.

But Yuan and co digged a little deeper. They looked at the correlation between well received questions and answers. And they discovered that these are strongly correlated.

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Science in a Complex World - Big Data: Opportunity or Threat?

Science in a Complex World - Big Data: Opportunity or Threat? | Complex World | Scoop.it

What do the National Security Agency, the National Science Foundation, Google, Netflix, Amazon, and even your local grocery have in common?

Big Data, that’s what.

Big Data is a loose term for the collection, storage, and sophisticated analysis of massive amounts of data, far larger and from many more kinds of sources than ever before. Organizations like those above, and more every day, are collecting and analyzing the myriad electronic bread crumbs we generate in our daily activities, and they’re exploiting that data to predict our actions and behaviors to help accomplish their objectives.

The Economist recently enthused: “Big data is the electricity of the 21st century – a new kind of power that changes everything it touches in business, government, and private life.”

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Beware. Scientists are Creating Machines That Can Evolve on Their Own

Beware. Scientists are Creating Machines That Can Evolve on Their Own | Complex World | Scoop.it

Forget what you see in movies. Most robots sit in a factory somewhere doing dull, repetitive work. Even if their software does dream of a more interesting job, their physical form remains fixed from the day they’re assembled to the moment they’re junked.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, say pioneers of “evo devo robo”—evolutionary developmental robotics, which applies principles of natural selection and biological development to machine design.

Josh Bongard, a computer scientist at the University of Vermont, is designing robots that go through growth spurts. Like anxious teenagers, they experience an awkward period of physical development before they find their place in the world.

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Complex Systems Science as a New Transdisciplinary Science

Complex Systems Science as a New Transdisciplinary Science | Complex World | Scoop.it

The new science of complex systems will be at the heart of the future of the Worldwide Knowledge Society. It is providing radical new ways of understanding the physical, biological, ecological, and techno-social universe. Complex Systems are open, value-laden, multi-level, multi-component, reconfigurable systems of systems, situated in turbulent, unstable, and changing environments. They evolve, adapt and transform through internal and external dynamic interactions. They are the source of very difficult scientific challenges for observing, understanding, reconstructing and predicting their multi-scale dynamics. The challenges posed by the multi-scale modelling of both natural and artificial adaptive complex systems can only be met with radically new collective strategies for research and teaching (...)


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june holley's curator insight, December 2, 2013 10:39 AM

The study of complex systems adds a lot of depth to understanding networks.

Complexity Institute's curator insight, December 6, 2013 3:56 AM

Are we ready to recognize a Science as a "Transdisciplinary Science?
Complex systems science is not a science in itself, but it may be considered as a 'Science of Sciences'.
I think this is the most challenging issue to face for a Worldwide Knowledge Society, as Paul Bourgine states.
What are your opinions about this?

Edgar Francisco Pelayo Valencia's curator insight, December 20, 2013 5:26 PM

Future is here!!!

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Breathing synchronization in interconnected networks

Breathing synchronization in interconnected networks | Complex World | Scoop.it

Global synchronization in a complex network of oscillators emerges from the interplay between its topology and the dynamics of the pairwise interactions among its numerous components. When oscillators are spatially separated, however, a time delay appears in the interaction which might obstruct synchronization. Here we study the synchronization properties of interconnected networks of oscillators with a time delay between networks and analyze the dynamics as a function of the couplings and communication lag. We discover a new breathing synchronization regime, where two groups appear in each network synchronized at different frequencies. Each group has a counterpart in the opposite network, one group is in phase and the other in anti-phase with their counterpart. For strong couplings, instead, networks are internally synchronized but a phase shift between them might occur. The implications of our findings on several socio-technical and biological systems are discussed.

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