Basic research on biodiversity has concentrated on individual species—naming new species, studying distribution patterns, and analyzing their evolutionary relationships. Yet biodiversity is more than a collection of individual species; it is the combination of biological entities and processes that support life on Earth. To understand biodiversity we must catalog it, but we must also assess the ways species interact with other species to provide functional support for the Tree of Life. Ecological interactions may be lost well before the species involved in those interactions go extinct; their ecological functions disappear even though they remain. Here, I address the challenges in studying the functional aspects of species interactions and how basic research is helping us address the fast-paced extinction of species due to human activities.
Recently developed information communication technologies, particularly the Internet, have affected how we, both as individuals and as a society, create, store, and recall information. Internet also provides us with a great opportunity to study memory using transactional large scale data, in a quantitative framework similar to the practice in statistical physics. In this project, we make use of online data by analysing viewership statistics of Wikipedia articles on aircraft crashes. We study the relation between recent events and past events and particularly focus on understanding memory triggering patterns. We devise a quantitative model that explains the flow of viewership from a current event to past events based on similarity in time, geography, topic, and the hyperlink structure of Wikipedia articles. We show that on average the secondary flow of attention to past events generated by such remembering processes is larger than the primary attention flow to the current event. We are the first to report these cascading effects.
Memory Remains: Understanding Collective Memory in the Digital Age Ruth García-Gavilanes, Anders Mollgaard, Milena Tsvetkova, Taha Yasseri
Estimating systemic risk in networks of financial institutions represents, today, a major challenge in both science and financial policy making. This work shows how the increasing complexity of the network of contracts among institutions comes with the price of increasing inaccuracy in the estimation of systemic risk. The paper offers a quantitative method to estimate systemic risk and its accuracy.
The price of complexity in financial networks Stefano Battiston, Guido Caldarelli, Robert M. May, Tarik Roukny, and Joseph E. Stiglitz
Spontaneous synchronization has long served as a paradigm for behavioral uniformity that can emerge from interactions in complex systems. When the interacting entities are identical and their coupling patterns are also identical, the complete synchronization of the entire network is the state inheriting the system symmetry. As in other systems subject to symmetry breaking, such symmetric states are not always stable. Here, we report on the discovery of the converse of symmetry breaking—the scenario in which complete synchronization is not stable for identically coupled identical oscillators but becomes stable when, and only when, the oscillator parameters are judiciously tuned to nonidentical values, thereby breaking the system symmetry to preserve the state symmetry. Aside from demonstrating that diversity can facilitate and even be required for uniformity and consensus, this suggests a mechanism for convergent forms of pattern formation in which initially asymmetric patterns evolve into symmetric ones.
Symmetric States Requiring System Asymmetry Takashi Nishikawa and Adilson E. Motter Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 114101
Any physical system can be viewed from the perspective that information is implicitly represented in its state. However, the quantification of this information when it comes to complex networks has remained largely elusive. In this work, we use techniques inspired by quantum statistical mechanics to define an entropy measure for complex networks and to develop a set of information-theoretic tools, based on network spectral properties, such as Renyi q-entropy, generalized Kullback-Leibler and Jensen-Shannon divergences, the latter allowing us to define a natural distance measure between complex networks. First we show that by minimizing the Kullback-Leibler divergence between an observed network and a parametric network model, inference of model parameter(s) by means of maximum-likelihood estimation can be achieved and model selection can be performed appropriate information criteria. Second, we show that the information-theoretic metric quantifies the distance between pairs of networks and we can use it, for instance, to cluster the layers of a multilayer system. By applying this framework to networks corresponding to sites of the human microbiome, we perform hierarchical cluster analysis and recover with high accuracy existing community-based associations. Our results imply that spectral based statistical inference in complex networks results in demonstrably superior performance as well as a conceptual backbone, filling a gap towards a network information theory.
Spectral entropies as information-theoretic tools for complex network comparison Manlio De Domenico, Jacob Biamonte
How can we understand the function of gigantic complex networks (e.g. the brain) based on connectivity data alone? We use the available full connectome of a nematode and apply new approaches to find that the neural network is made of structurally homogeneous neural circuits. These sets of neurons also appear in defined regions of the network where they may provide valuable functional roles such as signal integration and synchronization. Moreover, if we redraw the network considering these homogeneous sets alone, we reveal a simplified network layout that is intuitive to understand. As connectome data of higher brain systems are soon to be released our novel approaches can be immediately applied to studying these complex systems.
Azulay A, Itskovits E, Zaslaver A (2016) The C. elegans Connectome Consists of Homogenous Circuits with Defined Functional Roles. PLoS Comput Biol 12(9): e1005021. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005021
Language change is a complex social phenomenon, revealing pathways of communication and sociocultural influence. But, while language change has long been a topic of study in sociolinguistics, traditional linguistic research methods rely on circumstantial evidence, estimating the direction of change from differences between older and younger speakers. In this paper, we use a data set of several million Twitter users to track language changes in progress. First, we show that language change can be viewed as a form of social influence: we observe complex contagion for phonetic spellings and "netspeak" abbreviations (e.g., lol), but not for older dialect markers from spoken language. Next, we test whether specific types of social network connections are more influential than others, using a parametric Hawkes process model. We find that tie strength plays an important role: densely embedded social ties are significantly better conduits of linguistic influence. Geographic locality appears to play a more limited role: we find relatively little evidence to support the hypothesis that individuals are more influenced by geographically local social ties, even in their usage of geographical dialect markers.
The Social Dynamics of Language Change in Online Networks Rahul Goel, Sandeep Soni, Naman Goyal, John Paparrizos, Hanna Wallach, Fernando Diaz, Jacob Eisenstein
Despite the pivotal role that both power and interpersonal trust play in a multitude of social exchange situations, relatively little is known about their interplay. Moreover, previous theorizing makes competing claims. Do we consider our relatively more powerful exchange partners to be less trustworthy, as rational choice reasoning would suggest? Or do more complex psychological mechanisms lead us to trust them more, as motivated cognition reasoning implies? Extending the latter approach, we develop and empirically test three hypotheses on the interrelation between perceptions of interpersonal trust and power. According to the status value hypothesis, individuals are more likely to befriend those whom they or others perceive as powerful. The status signaling hypothesis states that the friends of people one perceives as powerful will also be seen as powerful. According to the self-monitoring hypothesis, high self-monitors are more likely than low self-monitors to befriend those they or others perceive as powerful. We use multiplex stochastic actor-based models to analyze the co-evolution of trust and power relations among n = 49 employees in a Dutch Youth Care organization. Data covers three waves of a longitudinal sociometric network survey collected over a period of 18 months in the years 2009–2010. In general, we find some support for all three hypotheses, though the effects are weak. Being one of the first organizational field studies on the co-evolution of power and trust, we conclude with discussing the implications of these findings for the study of social exchange processes.
The co-evolution of power and friendship networks in an organization ALONA LABUN, RAFAEL WITTEK, CHRISTIAN STEGLICH Network Science , Volume 4 , Issue 03 , September 2016, pp 364 - 384 doi: 10.1017/nws.2016.7
Cities are changing constantly. All urban systems face different conditions from day to day. Even when averaged regularities can be found, urban systems will be more efficient if they can adapt to changes at the same speeds at which these occur. Technology can assist humans in achieving this adaptation. Inspired by cybernetics, we propose a description of cities as adaptive systems. We identify three main components: information, algorithms, and agents, which we illustrate with current and future examples. The implications of adaptive cities are manifold, with direct impacts on mobility, sustainability, resilience, governance, and society. Still, the potential of adaptive cities will not depend so much on technology as on how we use it.
Adaptive Cities: A Cybernetic Perspective on Urban Systems Carlos Gershenson, Paolo Santi, Carlo Ratti
Inspired by language competition processes, we present a model of coupled evolution of node and link states. In particular, we focus on the interplay between the use of a language and the preference or attitude of the speakers towards it, which we model, respectively, as a property of the interactions between speakers (a link state) and as a property of the speakers themselves (a node state). Furthermore, we restrict our attention to the case of two socially equivalent languages and to socially inspired network topologies based on a mechanism of triadic closure. As opposed to most of the previous literature, where language extinction is an inevitable outcome of the dynamics, we find a broad range of possible asymptotic configurations, which we classify as: frozen extinction states, frozen coexistence states, and dynamically trapped coexistence states. Moreover, metastable coexistence states with very long survival times and displaying a non-trivial dynamics are found to be abundant. Interestingly, a system size scaling analysis shows, on the one hand, that the probability of language extinction vanishes exponentially for increasing system sizes and, on the other hand, that the time scale of survival of the non-trivial dynamical metastable states increases linearly with the size of the system. Thus, non-trivial dynamical coexistence is the only possible outcome for large enough systems. Finally, we show how this coexistence is characterized by one of the languages becoming clearly predominant while the other one becomes increasingly confined to "ghetto-like" structures: small groups of bilingual speakers arranged in triangles, with a strong preference for the minority language, and using it for their intra-group interactions while they switch to the predominant language for communications with the rest of the population.
Coupled dynamics of node and link states in complex networks: A model for language competition Adrián Carro, Raúl Toral, Maxi San Miguel
Spreading processes are ubiquitous in natural and artificial systems. They can be studied via a plethora of models, depending on the specific details of the phenomena under study. Disease contagion and rumor spreading are among the most important of these processes due to their practical relevance. However, despite the similarities between them, current models address both spreading dynamics separately. In this paper, we propose a general information spreading model that is based on discrete time Markov chains. The model includes all the transitions that are plausible for both a disease contagion process and rumor propagation. We show that our model not only covers the traditional spreading schemes, but that it also contains some features relevant in social dynamics, such as apathy, forgetting, and lost/recovering of interest. The model is evaluated analytically to obtain the spreading thresholds and the early time dynamical behavior for the contact and reactive processes in several scenarios. Comparison with Monte Carlo simulations shows that the Markov chain formalism is highly accurate while it excels in computational efficiency. We round off our work by showing how the proposed framework can be applied to the study of spreading processes occurring on social networks.
Unifying Markov Chain Approach for Disease and Rumor Spreading in Complex Networks
Guilherme Ferraz de Arruda, Francisco A. Rodrigues, Pablo Martin Rodriiguez, Emanuele Cozzo, Yamir Moreno
Historically, infectious diseases caused considerable damage to human societies, and they continue to do so today. To help reduce their impact, mathematical models of disease transmission have been studied to help understand disease dynamics and inform prevention strategies. Vaccination - one of the most important preventive measures of modern times - is of great interest both theoretically and empirically. And in contrast to traditional approaches, recent research increasingly explores the pivotal implications of individual behavior and heterogeneous contact patterns in populations. Our report reviews the developmental arc of theoretical epidemiology with emphasis on vaccination, as it led from classical models assuming homogeneously mixing (mean-field) populations and ignoring human behavior, to recent models that account for behavioral feedback and/or population spatial/social structure. Many of the methods used originated in statistical physics, such as lattice and network models, and their associated analytical frameworks. Similarly, the feedback loop between vaccinating behavior and disease propagation forms a coupled nonlinear system with analogs in physics. We also review the new paradigm of digital epidemiology, wherein sources of digital data such as online social media are mined for high-resolution information on epidemiologically relevant individual behavior. Armed with the tools and concepts of statistical physics, and further assisted by new sources of digital data, models that capture nonlinear interactions between behavior and disease dynamics offer a novel way of modeling real-world phenomena, and can help improve health outcomes. We conclude the review by discussing open problems in the field and promising directions for future research.
Statistical physics of vaccination Zhen Wang, Chris T. Bauch, Samit Bhattacharyya, Alberto d'Onofrio, Piero Manfredi, Matjaz Perc, Nicola Perra, Marcel Salathé, Dawei Zhao
Reliable data on economic livelihoods remain scarce in the developing world, hampering efforts to study these outcomes and to design policies that improve them. Here we demonstrate an accurate, inexpensive, and scalable method for estimating consumption expenditure and asset wealth from high-resolution satellite imagery. Using survey and satellite data from five African countries—Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, and Rwanda—we show how a convolutional neural network can be trained to identify image features that can explain up to 75% of the variation in local-level economic outcomes. Our method, which requires only publicly available data, could transform efforts to track and target poverty in developing countries. It also demonstrates how powerful machine learning techniques can be applied in a setting with limited training data, suggesting broad potential application across many scientific domains.
Combining satellite imagery and machine learning to predict poverty Neal Jean, Marshall Burke, Michael Xie, W. Matthew Davis, David B. Lobell, Stefano Ermon
Science 19 Aug 2016: Vol. 353, Issue 6301, pp. 790-794 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf7894
Faced with effectively unlimited choices of how to spend their time, humans are constantly balancing a trade-off between exploitation of familiar places and exploration of new locations. Previous analyses have shown that at the daily and weekly timescales individuals are well characterized by an activity space of repeatedly visited locations. How this activity space evolves in time, however, remains unexplored. Here we analyse high-resolution spatio-temporal traces from 850 individuals participating in a 24-month experiment. We find that, although activity spaces undergo considerable changes, the number of familiar locations an individual visits at any point in time is a conserved quantity. We show that this number is similar for different individuals, revealing a substantial homogeneity of the observed population. We point out that the observed fixed size of the activity space cannot be explained in terms of time constraints, and is therefore a distinctive property of human behavior.
Evidence for a Conserved Quantity in Human Mobility Laura Alessandretti, Piotr Sapiezynski, Sune Lehmann, Andrea Baronchelli
We show how the success of deep learning depends not only on mathematics but also on physics: although well-known mathematical theorems guarantee that neural networks can approximate arbitrary functions well, the class of functions of practical interest can be approximated through "cheap learning" with exponentially fewer parameters than generic ones, because they have simplifying properties tracing back to the laws of physics. The exceptional simplicity of physics-based functions hinges on properties such as symmetry, locality, compositionality and polynomial log-probability, and we explore how these properties translate into exceptionally simple neural networks approximating both natural phenomena such as images and abstract representations thereof such as drawings. We further argue that when the statistical process generating the data is of a certain hierarchical form prevalent in physics and machine-learning, a deep neural network can be more efficient than a shallow one. We formalize these claims using information theory and discuss the relation to renormalization group procedures. Various "no-flattening theorems" show when these efficient deep networks cannot be accurately approximated by shallow ones without efficiency loss - even for linear networks.
Why does deep and cheap learning work so well? Henry W. Lin, Max Tegmark
We study the dynamic network of real world person-to-person interactions between approximately 1,000 individuals with 5-min resolution across several months. There is currently no coherent theoretical framework for summarizing the tens of thousands of interactions per day in this complex network, but here we show that at the right temporal resolution, social groups can be identified directly. We outline and validate a framework that enables us to study the statistical properties of individual social events as well as series of meetings across weeks and months. Representing the dynamic network as sequences of such meetings reduces the complexity of the system dramatically. We illustrate the usefulness of the framework by investigating the predictability of human social activity.
Fundamental structures of dynamic social networks Vedran Sekara, Arkadiusz Stopczynski, and Sune Lehmann
Almost all processes -- highly correlated, weakly correlated, or correlated not at all---exhibit statistical fluctuations. Often physical laws, such as the Second Law of Thermodynamics, address only typical realizations -- as highlighted by Shannon's asymptotic equipartition property and as entailed by taking the thermodynamic limit of an infinite number of degrees of freedom. Indeed, our interpretations of the functioning of macroscopic thermodynamic cycles are so focused. Using a recently derived Second Law for information processing, we show that different subsets of fluctuations lead to distinct thermodynamic functioning in Maxwellian Demons. For example, while typical realizations may operate as an engine -- converting thermal fluctuations to useful work -- even "nearby" fluctuations (nontypical, but probable realizations) behave differently, as Landauer erasers -- converting available stored energy to dissipate stored information. One concludes that ascribing a single, unique functional modality to a thermodynamic system, especially one on the nanoscale, is at best misleading, likely masking an array of simultaneous, parallel thermodynamic transformations. This alters how we conceive of cellular processes, engineering design, and evolutionary adaptation.
Not All Fluctuations are Created Equal: Spontaneous Variations in Thermodynamic Function James P. Crutchfield, Cina Aghamohammadi
The community deception problem is about how to hide a target community C from community detection algorithms. The need for deception emerges whenever a group of entities (e.g., activists, police enforcements) want to cooperate while concealing their existence as a community. In this paper we introduce and formalize the community deception problem. To solve this problem, we describe algorithms that carefully rewire the connections of C's members. We experimentally show how several existing community detection algorithms can be deceived, and quantify the level of deception by introducing a deception score. We believe that our study is intriguing since, while showing how deception can be realized it raises awareness for the design of novel detection algorithms robust to deception techniques.
From Community Detection to Community Deception Valeria Fionda, Giuseppe Pirrò
Ties between individuals on a social networks can represent different dimensions of interactions, and the spreading of information and innovations on these networks could potentially be driven by some dimensions more than by others. In this paper we investigate this issue by studying the diffusion of microfinance within rural India villages and accounting for the whole multilayer structure of the underlying social networks. We define a new measure of node centrality, diffusion versatility, and show that this is a better predictor of microfinance participation rate than previously introduced measures defined on aggregated single-layer social networks. Moreover, we untangle the role played by each social dimension and find that the most prominent role is played by the nodes that are central on layers concerned with trust, shedding new light on the key triggers of the diffusion of microfinance.
Untangling the role of diverse social dimensions in the diffusion of microfinance Elisa Omodei, Alex Arenas
The theory of pulse-coupled oscillators provides a framework to formulate and develop self-organizing synchronization strategies for wireless communications and mobile computing. These strategies show low complexity and are adaptive to changes in the network. Even though several protocols have been proposed and theoretical insight was gained there is no proof that guarantees synchronization of the oscillator phases in general dynamic coupling topologies under technological constraints. Here, we introduce a family of coupling strategies for pulse-coupled oscillators and prove that synchronization emerges for systems with arbitrary connected and dynamic topologies, individually changing signal propagation and processing delays, and stochastic pulse emission. It is shown by simulations how unreliable links or intentionally incomplete communication between oscillators can improve synchronization performance.
Convergence of Self-Organizing Pulse-Coupled Oscillator Synchronization in Dynamic Networks
Johannes Klinglmayr ; Christian Bettstetter ; Marc Timme ; Christoph Kirst
Complex network growth across diverse fields of science is hypothesized to be driven in the main by a combination of preferential attachment and node fitness processes. For measuring the respective influences of these processes, previous approaches make strong and untested assumptions on the functional forms of either the preferential attachment function or fitness function or both. We introduce a Bayesian statistical method called PAFit to estimate preferential attachment and node fitness without imposing such functional constraints that works by maximizing a log-likelihood function with suitably added regularization terms. We use PAFit to investigate the interplay between preferential attachment and node fitness processes in a Facebook wall-post network. While we uncover evidence for both preferential attachment and node fitness, thus validating the hypothesis that these processes together drive complex network evolution, we also find that node fitness plays the bigger role in determining the degree of a node. This is the first validation of its kind on real-world network data. But surprisingly the rate of preferential attachment is found to deviate from the conventional log-linear form when node fitness is taken into account. The proposed method is implemented in the R package PAFit.
Joint estimation of preferential attachment and node fitness in growing complex networks Thong Pham, Paul Sheridan & Hidetoshi Shimodaira Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 32558 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep32558
The redundancy of a system denotes the amount of duplicate components or mechanisms in it. For a network, especially one in which mass or information is being transferred from an origin to a destination, redundancy is related to the robustness of the system. Existing network measures of redundancy rely on local connectivity (e.g. clustering coefficients) or the existence of multiple paths. As in many systems there are functional dependencies between components and paths, a measure that not only characterizes the topology of a network, but also takes into account these functional dependencies, becomes most desirable. We propose a network redundancy measure in a prototypical model that contains functionally dependent directed paths: a Boolean model of a signal transduction network. The functional dependencies are made explicit by using an expanded network and the concept of elementary signaling modes (ESMs). We define the redundancy of a Boolean signal transduction network as the maximum number of node-independent ESMs and develop a methodology for identifying all maximal node-independent ESM combinations. We apply our measure to a number of signal transduction network models and show that it successfully distills known properties of the systems and offers new functional insights. The concept can be easily extended to similar related forms, e.g. edge-independent ESMs.
Node-independent elementary signaling modes: A measure of redundancy in Boolean signaling transduction networks ZHONGYAO SUN, RÉKA ALBERT Network Science , Volume 4 , Issue 03 , September 2016, pp 273 - 292 doi: 10.1017/nws.2016.4
The next grand challenges for society and science are in the brain sciences. A collection of 60+ scientists from around the world, together with 10+ observers from national, private, and foundations, spent two days together discussing the top challenges that we could solve as a global community in the next decade. We eventually settled on three challenges, spanning anatomy, physiology, and medicine. Addressing all three challenges requires novel computational infrastructure. The group proposed the advent of The International Brain Station (TIBS), to address these challenges, and launch brain sciences to the next level of understanding.
In ecological analysis, complexity has been regarded as an obstacle to overcome. Here we present a straightforward approach for addressing complexity in dynamic interconnected systems. We show that complexity, in the form of multiple interacting components, can actually be an asset for studying natural systems from temporal data. The central idea is that multidimensional time series enable system dynamics to be reconstructed from multiple viewpoints, and these viewpoints can be combined into a single model. We show how our approach, multiview embedding (MVE), can improve forecasts for simulated ecosystems and a mesocosm experiment. By leveraging complexity, MVE is particularly effective for overcoming the limitations of short and noisy time series and should be highly relevant for many areas of science.
Information leverage in interconnected ecosystems: Overcoming the curse of dimensionality Hao Ye, George Sugihara
Science 26 Aug 2016: Vol. 353, Issue 6302, pp. 922-925 DOI: 10.1126/science.aag0863
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