Complex World
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Complex World
Cutting Edge Research about Complex Systems
Curated by Claudia Mihai
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Gaydar: Facebook friendships expose sexual orientation

Gaydar: Facebook friendships expose sexual orientation | Complex World | Scoop.it

Public information about one’s coworkers, friends, family, and acquaintances, as well as one’s associations with them, implicitly reveals private information. Social networking Web sites, e–mail, instant messaging, telephone, and VoIP are all technologies steeped in network data — data relating one person to another. Network data shifts the locus of information control away from individuals, as the individual’s traditional and absolute discretion is replaced by that of his social network. Our research demonstrates a method for accurately predicting the sexual orientation of Facebook users by analyzing friendship associations. After analyzing 4,080 Facebook profiles from the MIT network, we determined that the percentage of a given user’s friends who self–identify as gay male is strongly correlated with the sexual orientation of that user, and we developed a logistic regression classifier with strong predictive power. Although we studied Facebook friendship ties, network data is pervasive in the broader context of computer–mediated communication, raising significant privacy issues for communication technologies to which there are no neat solutions.

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Anyone can learn to be a polymath

Anyone can learn to be a polymath | Complex World | Scoop.it
Our age reveres the narrow specialist but humans are natural polymaths, at our best when we turn our minds to many things
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A Big Data Approach to Computational Creativity

A Big Data Approach to Computational Creativity | Complex World | Scoop.it

Computational creativity is an emerging branch of artificial intelligence that places computers in the center of the creative process. Broadly, creativity involves a generative step to produce many ideas and a selective step to determine the ones that are the best. Many previous attempts at computational creativity, however, have not been able to achieve a valid selective step. This work shows how bringing data sources from the creative domain and from hedonic psychophysics together with big data analytics techniques can overcome this shortcoming to yield a system that can produce novel and high-quality creative artifacts. Our data-driven approach is demonstrated through a computational creativity system for culinary recipes and menus we developed and deployed, which can operate either autonomously or semi-autonomously with human interaction. We also comment on the volume, velocity, variety, and veracity of data in computational creativity.

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Collective Phenomena and Non-Finite State Computation in a Human Social System

Collective Phenomena and Non-Finite State Computation in a Human Social System | Complex World | Scoop.it

We investigate the computational structure of a paradigmatic example of distributed social interaction: that of the open-source Wikipedia community. We examine the statistical properties of its cooperative behavior, and perform model selection to determine whether this aspect of the system can be described by a finite-state process, or whether reference to an effectively unbounded resource allows for a more parsimonious description. We find strong evidence, in a majority of the most-edited pages, in favor of a collective-state model, where the probability of a “revert” action declines as the square root of the number of non-revert actions seen since the last revert. We provide evidence that the emergence of this social counter is driven by collective interaction effects, rather than properties of individual users.

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Scientists discover that ants, like humans, can change their priorities

Scientists discover that ants, like humans, can change their priorities | Complex World | Scoop.it

All animals have to make decisions every day. Where will they live and what will they eat? How will they protect themselves? They often have to make these decisions as a group, too, turning what may seem like a simple choice into a far more nuanced process. So, how do animals know what's best for their survival?

For the first time, Arizona State University researchers have discovered that at least in ants, animals can change their decision-making strategies based on experience. They can also use that experience to weigh different options.

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New Dilemmas for the Prisoner

New Dilemmas for the Prisoner | Complex World | Scoop.it

Prisoner’s Dilemma has been a subject of inquiry for more than 60 years, not just by game theorists but also by psychologists, economists, political scientists, and evolutionary biologists. Yet the game has not given up all its secrets. A startling discovery last year revealed a whole new class of strategies, including some bizarre ones. For example, over a long series of games one player can unilaterally dictate the other player’s score (within a certain range). Or a crafty player can control the ratio of the two scores. But not all the new strategies are so manipulative; some are “generous” rules that elicit cooperation and thereby excel in an evolutionary context.

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Quantifying the Digital Traces of Hurricane Sandy on Flickr

Quantifying the Digital Traces of Hurricane Sandy on Flickr | Complex World | Scoop.it

Society’s increasing interactions with technology are creating extensive “digital traces” of our collective human behavior. These new data sources are fuelling the rapid development of the new field of computational social science. To investigate user attention to theHurricane Sandy disaster in 2012, we analyze data from Flickr, a popular website for sharing personal photographs. In this case study, we find that the number of photos taken and subsequently uploaded to Flickr with titles, descriptions or tags related to Hurricane Sandy bears a striking correlation to the atmospheric pressure in the US state New Jersey during this period. Appropriate leverage of such information could be useful to policy makers and others charged with emergency crisis management.

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The Big Data Brain Drain: Why Science is in Trouble

The Big Data Brain Drain: Why Science is in Trouble | Complex World | Scoop.it

Regardless of what you might think of the ubiquity of the "Big Data" meme, it's clear that the growing size of datasets is changing the way we approach the world around us. This is true in fields from industry to government to media to academia and virtually everywhere in between. Our increasing abilities to gather, process, visualize, and learn from large datasets is helping to push the boundaries of our knowledge.

But where scientific research is concerned, this recently accelerated shift to data-centric science has a dark side, which boils down to this: the skills required to be a successful scientific researcher are increasingly indistinguishable from the skills required to be successful in industry. While academia, with typical inertia, gradually shifts to accommodate this, the rest of the world has already begun to embrace and reward these skills to a much greater degree. The unfortunate result is that some of the most promising upcoming researchers are finding no place for themselves in the academic community, while the for-profit world of industry stands by with deep pockets and open arms.

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Geo-located Twitter as the proxy for global mobility patterns

Geo-located Twitter as the proxy for global mobility patterns | Complex World | Scoop.it

In the advent of a pervasive presence of location sharing services researchers gained an unprecedented access to the direct records of human activity in space and time. This paper analyses geo-located Twitter messages in order to uncover global patterns of human mobility. Based on a dataset of almost a billion tweets recorded in 2012 we estimate volumes of international travelers in respect to their country of residence. We examine mobility profiles of different nations looking at the characteristics such as mobility rate, radius of gyration, diversity of destinations and a balance of the inflows and outflows. The temporal patterns disclose the universal seasons of increased international mobility and the peculiar national nature of overseen travels. Our analysis of the community structure of the Twitter mobility network, obtained with the iterative network partitioning, reveals spatially cohesive regions that follow the regional division of the world. Finally, we validate our result with the global tourism statistics and mobility models provided by other authors, and argue that Twitter is a viable source to understand and quantify global mobility patterns.

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Activity clocks: spreading dynamics on temporal networks of human contact

Activity clocks: spreading dynamics on temporal networks of human contact | Complex World | Scoop.it

Dynamical processes on time-varying complex networks are key to understanding and modeling a broad variety of processes in socio-technical systems. Here we focus on empirical temporal networks of human proximity and we aim at understanding the factors that, in simulation, shape the arrival time distribution of simple spreading processes. Abandoning the notion of wall-clock time in favour of node-specific clocks based on activity exposes robust statistical patterns in the arrival times across different social contexts. Using randomization strategies and generative models constrained by data, we show that these patterns can be understood in terms of heterogeneous inter-event time distributions coupled with heterogeneous numbers of events per edge. We also show, both empirically and by using a synthetic dataset, that significant deviations from the above behavior can be caused by the presence of edge classes with strong activity correlations.

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Cortical High-Density Counterstream Architectures

Cortical High-Density Counterstream Architectures | Complex World | Scoop.it

Small-world networks provide an appealing description of cortical architecture owing to their capacity for integration and segregation combined with an economy of connectivity. Previous reports of low-density interareal graphs and apparent small-world properties are challenged by data that reveal high-density cortical graphs in which economy of connections is achieved by weight heterogeneity and distance-weight correlations. These properties define a model that predicts many binary and weighted features of the cortical network including a core-periphery, a typical feature of self-organizing information processing systems. Feedback and feedforward pathways between areas exhibit a dual counterstream organization, and their integration into local circuits constrains cortical computation. Here, we propose a bow-tie representation of interareal architecture derived from the hierarchical laminar weights of pathways between the high-efficiency dense core and periphery.

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Conway's Reverse Game of Life

Conway's Reverse Game of Life | Complex World | Scoop.it

This competition is an experiment to see if machine learning (or optimization, or any method) can predict the game of life in reverse.  Is the chaotic start of Life predictable from its orderly ends?  We have created many games, evolved them, and provided only the end boards. You are asked to predict the starting board that resulted in each end board. Although some people have examined this problem, it is unknown (at least, to us...) just how difficult this will be.

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The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume I

The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume I | Complex World | Scoop.it

Mainly mechanics, radiation, and heat


Via Alin Velea
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Researchers found that words that signal problems with understanding are similar across languages

Researchers found that words that signal problems with understanding are similar across languages | Complex World | Scoop.it
A word like 'Huh?'—used when one has not caught what someone just said—appears to be universal: it is found to have very similar form and function in languages across the globe.
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Nomencracy

Nomencracy | Complex World | Scoop.it

THE “Great Gatsby curve” is the name Alan Krueger, an economic adviser to Barack Obama, gave to the relationship between income inequality and social mobility across the generations. Mr Krueger used the phrase in a 2012 speech to describe the work of Miles Corak of the University of Ottawa, who has shown that more unequal economies tend to have less fluid societies. Mr Corak reckons that in some places, like America and Britain, around 50% of income differences in one generation are attributable to differences in the previous generation (in more egalitarian Scandinavia, the number is less than 30%).

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What’s the secret to a successful lab? New “About My Lab” Collection in PLOS Computational Biology

What’s the secret to a successful lab? New “About My Lab” Collection in PLOS Computational Biology | Complex World | Scoop.it

Unlike other aspects of working as a scientist, researchers rarely receive training in managing people and labs. We therefore aim to spark a dialogue where scientists learn from one another in an open platform for disseminating experience and opinions, and create a broader awareness of the role and importance of management in science.

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Researchers devise means for creating controlled coordinated swarming

Researchers devise means for creating controlled coordinated swarming | Complex World | Scoop.it

Humans have noted coordinated swarming in its natural state for most of history—members of flocks of birds or schools of fish change direction individually, simultaneously without any obvious control mechanism. Scientists have sought to better understand such behavior to learn more about how such systems work in smaller environment such as those made of bacteria. Also, understanding how it works might help engineers build robotic systems able to accomplish the same feats. Holding things up, however, has been an inability to create a replicable model of the behavior in a controlled environment. Now, it appears, the team in France has done just that.

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The Math of Segregation

The Math of Segregation | Complex World | Scoop.it

Over the years the Schelling model has intrigued not just social scientists but also mathematicians, physicists, and others. Dozens of variants have been explored through computer simulations. Nevertheless, not much about the model could be established with mathematical certainty. It was not clear how the degree of segregation varies as a function of individual intolerance, nor was it certain that the system would always settle into a stable final state. Now two groups of computer scientists, returning to a version of the model very similar to the one Schelling first described, supply some provable, analytic results. Their findings include a few surprises. For example, in some cases the segregation process is self-limiting: The monochromatic enclaves stop growing at a certain size, well before they reach the scale of metropolitan apartheid I knew in Philadelphia.

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Social Influence and the Collective Dynamics of Opinion Formation

Social Influence and the Collective Dynamics of Opinion Formation | Complex World | Scoop.it

Social influence is the process by which individuals adapt their opinion, revise their beliefs, or change their behavior as a result of social interactions with other people. In our strongly interconnected society, social influence plays a prominent role in many self-organized phenomena such as herding in cultural markets, the spread of ideas and innovations, and the amplification of fears during epidemics. Yet, the mechanisms of opinion formation remain poorly understood, and existing physics-based models lack systematic empirical validation. Here, we report two controlled experiments showing how participants answering factual questions revise their initial judgments after being exposed to the opinion and confidence level of others. Based on the observation of 59 experimental subjects exposed to peer-opinion for 15 different items, we draw an influence map that describes the strength of peer influence during interactions.

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Ali Anani's curator insight, November 9, 2013 3:57 AM

Visualized group dynamics

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Who is the best scientist of them all?

Who is the best scientist of them all? | Complex World | Scoop.it

Is theoretical physicist Ed Witten more influential in his field than the biologist Solomon Snyder is among life scientists? And how do their records of scholarly impact measure up against those of past greats such as Karl Marx among historians and economists, or Sigmund Freud among psychologists?

Performance metrics based on values such as citation rates are heavily biased by field, so most measurement experts shy away from interdisciplinary comparisons. The average biochemist, for example, will always score more highly than the average mathematician, because biochemistry attracts more citations.

But researchers at Indiana University Bloomington think that they have worked out the best way of correcting this disciplinary bias. And they are publishing their scores online, for the first time letting academics compare rankings across all fields.

 
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Temporal-spatial heterogeneity in animal-environment contact: Implications for the exposure and transmission of pathogens

Temporal-spatial heterogeneity in animal-environment contact: Implications for the exposure and transmission of pathogens | Complex World | Scoop.it

Contact structure, a critical driver of infectious disease transmission, is not completely understood and characterized for environmentally transmitted pathogens. In this study, we assessed the effects of temporal and spatial heterogeneity in animal contact structures on the dynamics of environmentally transmitted pathogens. We used real-time animal position data to describe contact between animals and specific environmental areas used for feeding and watering calves. The generated contact structure varied across days and among animals. We integrated animal and environmental heterogeneity into an agent-based simulation model for Escherichia coli O157 environmental transmission in cattle to simulate four different scenarios with different environmental bacteria concentrations at different areas. The simulation results suggest heterogeneity in environmental contact structure among cattle influences pathogen prevalence and exposure associated with each environment. Our findings suggest that interventions that target environmental areas, even relatively small areas, with high bacterial concentration can result in effective mitigation of environmentally transmitted pathogens

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Communication with similar people stronger than believed

Communication with similar people stronger than believed | Complex World | Scoop.it

People's tendency to communicate with similar people is stronger than earlier believed, which restricts the flow of information and ideas in social networks.

The results were obtained by means of a computational method developed by the research group and then applied to massive amounts of anonymised mobile phone call data. The data came from a mobile phone operator's billing system and includes detailed information about the timing of hundreds of millions of mobile phone calls and the age, gender and billing types of anonymised callers and recipients.

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Artificial blood made in Romania, first tests encouraging

Artificial blood made in Romania, first tests encouraging | Complex World | Scoop.it

A team of researchers of the Babes-Bolyai University in Romania, has created a recipe for artificial blood, and the preliminary tests have proven encouraging.The team, led by 39-year-old Professor Radu Silaghi-Dumitrescu, has been doing research to create the artificial blood for six years. The blood is made of water, salt, albumin and a protein called hemerythrin, which is extracted from marine worms which makes the artificial blood stress resistant.


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Environmental structure and competitive scoring advantages in team competitions

Environmental structure and competitive scoring advantages in team competitions | Complex World | Scoop.it

In most professional sports, playing field structure is kept neutral so that scoring imbalances may be attributed to differences in team skill. It thus remains unknown what impact environmental heterogeneities can have on scoring dynamics or competitive advantages. Applying a novel generative model of scoring dynamics to roughly 10 million team competitions drawn from an online game, we quantify the relationship between the structure within a competition and its scoring dynamics, while controlling the impact of chance. Despite wide structural variations, we observe a common three-phase pattern in the tempo of events. Tempo and balance are highly predictable from a competition's structural features alone and teams exploit environmental heterogeneities for sustained competitive advantage. Surprisingly, the most balanced competitions are associated with specific environmental heterogeneities, not from equally skilled teams. These results shed new light on the design principles of balanced competition, and illustrate the potential of online game data for investigating social dynamics and competi

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