This special issue brings together articles that illustrate the recent advances of studying complex adaptive systems in industrial ecology (IE). The authors explore the emergent behavior of sociotechnical systems, including product systems, industrial symbiosis (IS) networks, cities, resource consumption, and co-authorship networks, and offer application of complex systems models and analyses. The articles demonstrate the links, relevance, and implications of many (often emerging) fields of study to IE, including network analysis, participatory modeling, nonequilibrium thermodynamics, and agent-based modeling. Together, these articles show that IE itself is a complex adaptive system, where knowledge, frameworks, methods, and tools evolve with and by their applications and use in small and large case studies—multidisciplinary knowledge ecology.
Complexity in Industrial Ecology: Models, Analysis, and Actions Gerard P.J. Dijkema, Ming Xu, Sybil Derrible and Reid Lifset
Journal of Industrial Ecology Special Issue: Advances in Complex Adaptive Systems and Industrial Ecology Volume 19, Issue 2, pages 189–194, April 2015
Yes—and you're probably suffering from phantom text syndrome, too.
First it was radio. Then it was television. Now doomsayers are offering scary predictions about the consequences of smartphones and all the other digital devices to which we’ve all grown so attached. So why should you pay any attention to the warnings this time?
Apart from portability, the big difference between something like a traditional TV and your tablet is the social component, says Dr. David Strayer, a professor of cognition and neural science at the University of Utah. “Through Twitter or Facebook or email, someone in your social network is contacting you in some way all the time,” Strayer says.
The abundance of a species' population in an ecosystem is rarely stationary, often exhibiting large fluctuations over time. Using historical data on marine species, we show that the year-to-year fluctuations of population growth rate obey a well-defined double-exponential (Laplace) distribution. This striking regularity allows us to devise a stochastic model despite seemingly irregular variations in population abundances. The model identifies the effect of reduced growth at low population density as a key factor missed in current approaches of population variability analysis and without which extinction risks are severely underestimated. The model also allows us to separate the effect of demographic stochasticity and show that single-species growth rates are dominantly determined by stochasticity common to all species. This dominance—and the implications it has for interspecies correlations, including co-extinctions—emphasizes the need for ecosystem-level management approaches to reduce the extinction risk of the individual species themselves.
Regularity underlies erratic population abundances in marine ecosystems Jie Sun, Sean P. Cornelius, John Janssen, Kimberly A. Gray, Adilson E. Motter J. R. Soc. Interface 2015 12 20150235; http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2015.0235
We examine all possible statistical pictures of violent conflicts over common era history with a focus on dealing with incompleteness and unreliability of data. We apply methods from extreme value theory on log-transformed data to remove compact support, then, owing to the boundedness of maximum casualties, retransform the data and derive expected means. We find the estimated mean likely to be at least three times larger than the sample mean, meaning severe underestimation of the severity of conflicts from naive observation. We check for robustness by sampling between high and low estimates and jackknifing the data. We study inter-arrival times between tail events and find (first-order) memorylessless of events. The statistical pictures obtained are at variance with the claims about "long peace".
On the tail risk of violent conflict and its underestimation Pasquale Cirillo, Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Understanding how the brain works requires a delicate balance between the appreciation of the importance of a multitude of biological details and the ability to see beyond those details to general principles. As technological innovations vastly increase the amount of data we collect, the importance of intuition into how to analyze and treat these data may, paradoxically, become more important.
In November, 2011, the Financial Stability Board, in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, published a list of 29 "systemically important financial institutions" (SIFIs). This designation reflects a concern that the failure of any one of them could have dramatic negative consequences for the global economy and is based on "their size, complexity, and systemic interconnectedness". While the characteristics of "size" and "systemic interconnectedness" have been the subject of a good deal of quantitative analysis, less attention has been paid to measures of a firm's "complexity." In this paper we take on the challenges of measuring the complexity of a financial institution and to that end explore the use of the structure of an individual firm's control hierarchy as a proxy for institutional complexity. The control hierarchy is a network representation of the institution and its subsidiaries. We show that this mathematical representation (and various associated metrics) provides a consistent way to compare the complexity of firms with often very disparate business models and as such may provide the foundation for determining a SIFI designation. By quantifying the level of complexity of a firm, our approach also may prove useful should firms need to reduce their level of complexity either in response to business or regulatory needs. Using a data set containing the control hierarchies of many of the designated SIFIs, we find that in the past two years, these firms have decreased their level of complexity, perhaps in response to regulatory requirements.
The Intrafirm Complexity of Systemically Important Financial Institutions Robin L. Lumsdaine, Daniel N. Rockmore, Nicholas Foti, Gregory Leibon, J. Doyne Farmer
The transition to turbulence exhibits remarkable spatio-temporal behavior that continues to defy detailed understanding. Near the onset to turbulence in pipes, transient turbulent regions decay either directly or, at higher Reynolds numbers through splitting, with characteristic time-scales that exhibit a super-exponential dependence on Reynolds number. Here we report numerical simulations of transitional pipe flow, showing that a zonal flow emerges at large scales, activated by anisotropic turbulent fluctuations; in turn, the zonal flow suppresses the small-scale turbulence leading to stochastic predator-prey dynamics. We show that this "ecological" model of transitional turbulence reproduces the super-exponential lifetime statistics and phenomenology of pipe flow experiments. Our work demonstrates that a fluid on the edge of turbulence is mathematically analogous to an ecosystem on the edge of extinction, and provides an unbroken link between the equations of fluid dynamics and the directed percolation universality class.
Ecological collapse and the emergence of traveling waves at the onset of shear turbulence Hong-Yan Shih, Tsung-Lin Hsieh, Nigel Goldenfeld
We perform a multifractal analysis of the evolution of London's street network from 1786 to 2010. First, we show that a single fractal dimension, commonly associated with the morphological description of cities, does not su ce to capture the dynamics of the system. Instead, for a proper characterization of such a dynamics, the multifractal spectrum needs to be considered. Our analysis reveals that London evolves from an inhomogeneous fractal structure, that can be described in terms of a multifractal, to a homogeneous one, that converges to monofractality. We argue that London's multifractal to monofracal evolution might be a special outcome of the constraint imposed on its growth by a green belt. Through a series of simulations, we show that multifractal objects, constructed through di usion limited aggregation, evolve towards monofractality if their growth is constrained by a non-permeable boundary.
Multifractal to monofractal evolution of the London's street network Roberto Murcio, A. Paolo Masucci, Elsa Arcaute, Michael Batty
The zebrafish is a model organism for pattern formation in vertebrates. Understanding what drives the formation of its coloured skin motifs could reveal pivotal to comprehend the mechanisms behind morphogenesis. The motifs look and behave like reaction–diffusion Turing patterns, but the nature of the underlying physico-chemical processes is very different, and the origin of the patterns is still unclear. Here we propose a minimal model for such pattern formation based on a regulatory mechanism deduced from experimental observations. This model is able to produce patterns with intrinsic wavelength, closely resembling the experimental ones. We mathematically prove that their origin is a Turing bifurcation occurring despite the absence of cell motion, through an effect that we call differential growth. This mechanism is qualitatively different from the reaction–diffusion originally proposed by Turing, although they both generate the short-range activation and the long-range inhibition required to form Turing patterns.
Pigment cell movement is not required for generation of Turing patterns in zebrafish skin • D. Bullara & Y. De Decker
Natural events present multiple types of sensory cues, each detected by a specialized sensory modality. Combining information from several modalities is essential for the selection of appropriate actions. Key to understanding multimodal computations is determining the structural patterns of multimodal convergence and how these patterns contribute to behaviour. Modalities could converge early, late or at multiple levels in the sensory processing hierarchy. Here we show that combining mechanosensory and nociceptive cues synergistically enhances the selection of the fastest mode of escape locomotion in Drosophila larvae. In an electron microscopy volume that spans the entire insect nervous system, we reconstructed the multisensory circuit supporting the synergy, spanning multiple levels of the sensory processing hierarchy. The wiring diagram revealed a complex multilevel multimodal convergence architecture. Using behavioural and physiological studies, we identified functionally connected circuit nodes that trigger the fastest locomotor mode, and others that facilitate it, and we provide evidence that multiple levels of multimodal integration contribute to escape mode selection. We propose that the multilevel multimodal convergence architecture may be a general feature of multisensory circuits enabling complex input–output functions and selective tuning to ecologically relevant combinations of cues.
A multilevel multimodal circuit enhances action selection in Drosophila • Tomoko Ohyama, Casey M. Schneider-Mizell, Richard D. Fetter, Javier Valdes Aleman, Romain Franconville, Marta Rivera-Alba, Brett D. Mensh, Kristin M. Branson, Julie H. Simpson, James W. Truman, Albert Cardona & Marta Zlatic
The determination of the most central agents in complex networks is important because they are responsible for a faster propagation of information, epidemics, failures and congestion, among others. A challenging problem is to identify them in networked systems characterized by different types of interactions, forming interconnected multilayer networks. Here we describe a mathematical framework that allows us to calculate centrality in such networks and rank nodes accordingly, finding the ones that play the most central roles in the cohesion of the whole structure, bridging together different types of relations. These nodes are the most versatile in the multilayer network. We investigate empirical interconnected multilayer networks and show that the approaches based on aggregating—or neglecting—the multilayer structure lead to a wrong identification of the most versatile nodes, overestimating the importance of more marginal agents and demonstrating the power of versatility in predicting their role in diffusive and congestion processes.
Ranking in interconnected multilayer networks reveals versatile nodes Manlio De Domenico, Albert Solé-Ribalta, Elisa Omodei, Sergio Gómez & Alex Arenas
At the beginning of the second half of the 20th century, there was a widespread belief that science and in particular medicine had progressed so far that Nature could be brought under complete control. It seemed that healthcare and pharmacology were in the position to prevent or to cure almost all diseases. In the 1980s, for example, the pharmaceutical industry stopped the search for new antibiotic drugs that would be badly needed nowadays in the light of the universal capabilities of bacteria to develop resistance factors. At about the same time previously unknown or unnoticed virus transmitted infectious human diseases appeared: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Ebola caused by Ebola virus (EBOV) and four related other strains of filoviridae, as well as severe acquired respiratory syndrome (SARS) brought about by SARS coronavirus. Caused by prions and not by a virus is been bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Nevertheless, it gave rise to an equally serious new epidemic. These and other cases as well as the consequences of the “antivaccination movement”, for example, the recent reoccurrence of pertussis and measles, revived a need of reliable models in epidemiology. In particular, the recent Ebola epidemic starting in December 2013 in West Africa initiated a new boom in theoretical work on infectious disease dynamics
Ebola—challenge and revival of theoretical epidemiology: Why Extrapolations from early phases of epidemics are problematic Peter Schuster
This study proposes a new set of measures for longitudinal social networks (LSNs). A LSN evolves over time through the creation and/or deletion of links among a set of actors (e.g., individuals or organizations). The current literature does feature some methods, such as multiagent simulation models, for studying the dynamics of LSNs. These methods have mainly been utilized to explore evolutionary changes in LSNs from one state to another and to explain the underlying mechanisms for these changes. However, they cannot quantify different aspects of a LSN. For example, these methods are unable to quantify the level of dynamicity shown by an actor in a LSN and its contribution to the overall dynamicity shown by that LSN. This article develops a set of measures for LSNs to overcome this limitation. We illustrate the benefits of these measures by applying them to an exploration of the Enron crisis. These measures successfully identify a significant but previously unobserved change in network structures (both at individual and group levels) during Enron's crisis period.
A set of measures to quantify the dynamicity of longitudinal social networks Shahadat Uddin, Arif Khan andMahendra Piraveenan
The relationship between information and complexity is analyzed using a detailed literature analysis. Complexity is a multifaceted concept, with no single agreed definition. There are numerous approaches to defining and measuring complexity and organization, all involving the idea of information. Conceptions of complexity, order, organization, and “interesting order” are inextricably intertwined with those of information. Shannon's formalism captures information's unpredictable creative contributions to organized complexity; a full understanding of information's relation to structure and order is still lacking. Conceptual investigations of this topic should enrich the theoretical basis of the information science discipline, and create fruitful links with other disciplines that study the concepts of information and complexity.
“Waiting for Carnot”: Information and complexity David Bawden and Lyn Robinson
Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology Early View
Social structure influences ecological processes such as dispersal and invasion, and affects survival and reproductive success. Recent studies have used static snapshots of social networks, thus neglecting their temporal dynamics, and focused primarily on a limited number of variables that might be affecting social structure. Here, instead we modelled effects of multiple predictors of social network dynamics in the spotted hyena, using observational data collected during 20 years of continuous field research in Kenya. We tested the hypothesis that the current state of the social network affects its long-term dynamics. We employed stochastic agent-based models that allowed us to estimate the contribution of multiple factors to network changes. After controlling for environmental and individual effects, we found that network density and individual centrality affected network dynamics, but that social bond transitivity consistently had the strongest effects. Our results emphasise the significance of structural properties of networks in shaping social dynamics.
Topological effects of network structure on long-term social network dynamics in a wild mammal Amiyaal Ilany, Andrew S. Booms and Kay E. Holekamp
When we build complex technologies, despite our best efforts and our desire for clean logic, they often end up being far messier than we intend. They often end up kluges: inelegant solutions that work just well enough. And a reason they end up being messy—despite being designed and engineered—is because fundamentally the way they grow and evolve is often more similar to biological systems than we realize.
JEFF HAWKINS RECENTLY re-read his 2004 book On Intelligence, where the founder of Palm computing – the company that gave us the first handheld computer and later, first-generation smartphones – explains how the human brain learns. An electrical engineer by training, Hawkins had taken a deep interest in how the brain works and founded the Redwood Neuroscience Institute, a private, nonprofit research organization focused on understanding how the neocortex processes information, at UC Berkeley in 2002. The big surprise? “There was very little I would change about that book,” Hawkins says. “There’s a lot I would add. There’s a ton of stuff where I know exactly how it works, that I didn’t know when I wrote it.”
Bacteria regulate gene expression in response to changes in cell density in a process called quorum sensing. To synchronize their gene-expression programs, these bacteria need to glean as much information as possible about their cell density. Our study is the first to physically model the flow of information in a quorum-sensing microbial community, wherein the internal regulator of the individuals response tracks the external cell density via an endogenously generated shared signal. Combining information theory and Lagrangian formalism, we find that quorum-sensing systems can improve their information capabilities by tuning circuit feedbacks. Our analysis suggests that achieving information benefit via feedback requires dedicated systems to control gene expression noise, such as sRNA-based regulation.
Optimal Census by Quorum Sensing Thibaud Taillefumier, Ned S. Wingreen
Social influence is ubiquitous in cultural markets, from book recommendations in Amazon, to song popularities in iTunes and the ranking of newspaper articles in the online edition of the New York Times to mention only a few. Yet social influence is often presented in a bad light, often because it supposedly increases market unpredictability. Here we study a model of trial-offer markets, in which participants try products and later decide whether to purchase. We consider a simple policy which ranks the products by quality when presenting them to market participants. We show that, in this setting, market efficiency always benefits from social influence. Moreover, we prove that the market converges almost surely to a monopoly for the product of highest quality, making the market both predictable and asymptotically optimal. Computational experiments confirm that the quality ranking policy identifies "blockbusters" in reasonable time, outperforms other policies, and is highly predictable. These results indicate that social influence does not necessarily increase market unpredicatibility. The outcome really depends on how social influence is used.
On the Optimality and Predictability of Cultural Markets with Social Influence Pascal Van Hentenryck, Andres Abeliuk, Franco Berbeglia, Gerardo Berbeglia
We develop a framework to track the structure of temporal networks with a signal processing approach. The method is based on the duality between networks and signals using a multidimensional scaling technique. This enables a study of the network structure using frequency patterns of the corresponding signals. An extension is proposed for temporal networks, thereby enabling a tracking of the network structure over time. A method to automatically extract the most significant frequency patterns and their activation coefficients over time is then introduced, using nonnegative matrix factorization of the temporal spectra. The framework, inspired by audio decomposition, allows transforming back these frequency patterns into networks, to highlight the evolution of the underlying structure of the network over time. The effectiveness of the method is first evidenced on a toy example, prior being used to study a temporal network of face-to-face contacts. The extraction of sub-networks highlights significant structures decomposed on time intervals.
Duality between Temporal Networks and Signals: Extraction of the Temporal Network Structures Ronan Hamon, Pierre Borgnat, Patrick Flandrin, Céline Robardet
The study of interdependent complex networks in the last decade has shown how cascading failure can result in the recursive and complete fragmentation of all connected systems from the destruction of a comparatively small number of nodes. Existing “network of networks” approaches are still in infancy and have shown limits when trying to model the robustness of real-world systems, due to simplifying assumptions regarding network interdependencies and post-attack viability. In order to increase the realism of such models, we challenge such assumptions by validating the following four hypotheses trough experimental results obtained from computer based simulations. Firstly, we suggest that, in the case of network topologies vulnerable to fragmentation, replacing the standard measure of robustness based on the size of the one largest remaining connected component by a new measure allowing secondary components to remain viable when measuring post-attack viability can make a significant improvement to the model. Secondly, we show that it is possible to influence the way failure propagation is balanced between coupled networks while keeping the same overall robustness score by allowing nodes in a given network to have multiple counter parts in another network. Thirdly, we challenge the generalised assumption that partitioning between networks is a good way to increase robustness and find that isolation is a force as equally destructive as the iterative propagation of cascading failure. This result significantly alters where the optimum robustness lies in the balance between isolation and inter-network coupling in such interconnected systems. Finally, we propose a solution to the consequent problem of seemingly ever increasing vulnerability of interdependent networks to both cascading failure and isolation: the use of permutable nodes that would give such systems rewiring capabilities. This last concept could have wide implications when trying to improve the topological resilience of natural or engineered interdependent networks.
Improving measures of topological robustness in networks of networks and suggestion of a novel way to counter both failure propagation and isolation Mehdi Khoury, Seth Bullock, Gaihua Fu and Richard Dawson
Current predictions of extinction risks from climate change vary widely depending on the specific assumptions and geographic and taxonomic focus of each study. I synthesized published studies in order to estimate a global mean extinction rate and determine which factors contribute the greatest uncertainty to climate change–induced extinction risks. Results suggest that extinction risks will accelerate with future global temperatures, threatening up to one in six species under current policies. Extinction risks were highest in South America, Australia, and New Zealand, and risks did not vary by taxonomic group. Realistic assumptions about extinction debt and dispersal capacity substantially increased extinction risks. We urgently need to adopt strategies that limit further climate change if we are to avoid an acceleration of global extinctions.
Accelerating extinction risk from climate change Mark C. Urban
Urban systems present hierarchical structures at many different scales. These are observed as administrative regional delimitations, which are the outcome of geographical, political and historical constraints. Using percolation theory on the street intersections and on the road network of Britain, we obtain hierarchies at different scales that are independent of administrative arrangements. Natural boundaries, such as islands and National Parks, consistently emerge at the largest/regional scales. Cities are devised through recursive percolations on each of the emerging clusters, but the system does not undergo a phase transition at the distance threshold at which cities can be defined. This specific distance is obtained by computing the fractal dimension of the clusters extracted at each distance threshold. We observe that the fractal dimension presents a maximum over all the different distance thresholds. The clusters obtained at this maximum are in very good correspondence to the morphological definition of cities given by satellite images, and by other methods previously developed by the authors (Arcaute et al. 2015).
Hierarchical organisation of Britain through percolation theory Elsa Arcaute, Carlos Molinero, Erez Hatna, Roberto Murcio, Camilo Vargas-Ruiz, Paolo Masucci, Jiaqiu Wang, Michael Batty
We analyse a large mobile phone activity dataset provided by Telecom Italia for the Telecom Big Data Challenge contest. The dataset reports the international country codes of every call/SMS made and received by mobile phone users in Milan, Italy, between November and December 2013, with a spatial resolution of about 200 meters. We first show that the observed spatial distribution of international codes well matches the distribution of international communities reported by official statistics, confirming the value of mobile phone data for demographic research. Next, we define an entropy function to measure the heterogeneity of the international phone activity in space and time. By comparing the entropy function to empirical data, we show that it can be used to identify the city’s hotspots, defined by the presence of points of interests. Eventually, we use the entropy function to characterize the spatial distribution of international communities in the city. Adopting a topological data analysis approach, we find that international mobile phone users exhibit some robust clustering patterns that correlate with basic socio-economic variables. Our results suggest that mobile phone records can be used in conjunction with topological data analysis tools to study the geography of migrant communities in a global city.
Unveiling patterns of international communities in a global city using mobile phone data Paolo Bajardi, Matteo Delfino, André Panisson, Giovanni Petri and Michele Tizzoni
The outcome of the British General Election to be held in just over one week's time is widely regarded as the most difficult in living memory to predict. Current polls suggest that the two main parties are neck and neck but that there will be a landslide to the Scottish Nationalist Party with that party taking most of the constituencies in Scotland. The Liberal Democrats are forecast to loose more than half their seats and the fringe parties of whom the UK Independence Party is the biggest are simply unknown quantities. Much of this volatility relates to long-standing and deeply rooted cultural and nationalist attitudes that relate to geographical fault lines that have been present for 500 years or more but occasionally reveal themselves, at times like this. In this paper our purpose is to raise the notion that these fault lines are critical to thinking about regionalism, nationalism and the hierarchy of cities in Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland). We use a percolation method (Arcaute et al. 2015) to reveal them that treats Britain as a giant cluster of related places each defined from the intersections of the road network at a very fine spatial scale. We break this giant cluster into a detailed hierarchy of sub-clusters by successively reducing a distance threshold which first breaks off some of the Scottish Islands and then reveals the very distinct nations and regions that make up Britain, all the way down to the definition of the largest cities that appear when the threshold reaches 300m. We use these percolation clusters to apportion the 2010 voting pattern to a new hierarchy of constituencies based on these clusters, and this gives us a picture of how Britain might vote on purely geographical lines. We then examine this voting pattern which provides us with some sense of how important the new configuration of political parties might be to the election next week.
The Fractured Nature of British Politics Carlos Molinero, Elsa Arcaute, Duncan Smith, Michael Batty
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