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Beyond Big Data: Identifying Important Information for Real World Challenges

Beyond Big Data: Identifying Important Information for Real World Challenges | Papers | Scoop.it

Much of human inquiry today is focused on collecting massive quantities of data about complex systems, with the underlying assumption that more data leads to more insight into how to solve the challenges facing humanity. However, the questions we wish to address require identifying the impact of interventions on the behavior of a system, and to do this we must know which pieces of information are important and how they fit together. Here we describe why complex systems require different methods than simple systems and provide an overview of the corresponding paradigm shift in physics. We then connect the core ideas of the paradigm shift to information theory and describe how a parallel shift could take place in the study of complex biological and social systems. Finally, we provide a general framework for characterizing the importance of information. Framing scientific inquiry as an effort to objectively determine what is important and unimportant rather than collecting as much information as possible is a means for advancing our understanding and addressing many practical biological and social challenges.


Yaneer Bar-Yam and Maya Bialik, Beyond Big Data: Identifying important information for real world challenges

http://www.necsi.edu/projects/yaneer/information/

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Rebalancing the Global Economy

Rebalancing the Global Economy | Papers | Scoop.it

This special report includes 23 articles on topics ranging from technology, innovation and brand building to infrastructure, entrepreneurship and social impact. Current trends and recent developments shaping today’s global marketplace are covered, as are specific companies, industries and countries.
http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/special-report/rebalancing-global-economy/

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‘Animals do think’ — surprising insights into the evolution of cognition and communication

Descartes thought all animals were machines — simple reflex devices that couldn't even think because they did not have language. About 200 years later, Darwin expressed a totally different view of animal behavior—that animals can think, albeit without language. And in the last 50 years, a new area in psychology emerged called animal cognition. That's not an oxymoron because — going back to Descartes — animals do, in fact, use thought to represent objects and events in their environments.


http://www.elsevier.com/connect/animals-do-think-surprising-insights-into-the-evolution-of-cognition-and-communication

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Human opinion dynamics: An inspiration to solve complex optimization problems

Human interactions give rise to the formation of different kinds of opinions in a society. The study of formations and dynamics of opinions has been one of the most important areas in social physics. The opinion dynamics and associated social structure leads to decision making or so called opinion consensus. Opinion formation is a process of collective intelligence evolving from the integrative tendencies of social influence with the disintegrative effects of individualisation, and therefore could be exploited for developing search strategies. Here, we demonstrate that human opinion dynamics can be utilised to solve complex mathematical optimization problems. The results have been compared with a standard algorithm inspired from bird flocking behaviour and the comparison proves the efficacy of the proposed approach in general. Our investigation may open new avenues towards understanding the collective decision making.


Human opinion dynamics: An inspiration to solve complex optimization problems
Rishemjit Kaur, Ritesh Kumar, Amol P. Bhondekar & Pawan Kapur

Scientific Reports 3, Article number: 3008 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep03008


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António F Fonseca's curator insight, December 28, 2013 7:14 AM

Another paper on opinion dynamics.

Luciano Lampi's curator insight, January 11, 5:45 PM

Humanrithms....

Claude Emond's curator insight, January 20, 5:51 PM

Opinions are an unescapable part of sharing and influencing the direction of collective intelligence

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Epidemics on social networks

Since its first formulations almost a century ago, mathematical models for disease spreading contributed to understand, evaluate and control the epidemic processes.They promoted a dramatic change in how epidemiologists thought of the propagation of infectious diseases.In the last decade, when the traditional epidemiological models seemed to be exhausted, new types of models were developed.These new models incorporated concepts from graph theory to describe and model the underlying social structure.Many of these works merely produced a more detailed extension of the previous results, but some others triggered a completely new paradigm in the mathematical study of epidemic processes. In this review, we will introduce the basic concepts of epidemiology, epidemic modeling and networks, to finally provide a brief description of the most relevant results in the field.


Epidemics on social networks
Marcelo N. Kuperman

http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.3838

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António F Fonseca's curator insight, January 9, 5:10 AM

A good review about epidemic models in social networks, SIS, SIR, etc ...

Marco Valli's curator insight, January 9, 9:08 AM

Basics of SIS/SIR models of spreading epidemics, and their relations to social networks.

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Nonlocal and global dynamics of cellular automata: A theoretical computer arithmetic for real maps

A fully-discrete general method to approximate any real map in the unit interval by a cellular automaton (CA) to arbitrary precision is presented. This result leads to establish a one-to-one correspondence between the qualitative behavior found in bifurcation diagrams of real nonlinear maps and the Wolfram classes of CAs. The local, nonlocal and global dynamical behaviors of CAs are systematically addressed and universal maps are derived for the three levels of description showing their direct interrelationships and elucidating some essential aspects of their dynamics. None of the maps contain any freely adjustable parameter and they are valid for any number of symbols in the alphabet p and neighborhood range ρ. The method is applied to the logistic map, for which a logistic CA is derived. All dynamical behavior present in the former is shown to be exactly reproduced by the latter.


Nonlocal and global dynamics of cellular automata: A theoretical computer arithmetic for real maps
Vladimir Garcia-Morales

http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.6534

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Special issue: What is reality? - New Scientist

Special issue: What is reality? - New Scientist | Papers | Scoop.it
The more we learn about reality, the less we understand it. Our special collection of articles explores how we define reality, what it could be and whether it exists

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FastTFriend's curator insight, December 21, 2013 5:39 AM

 But what is reality? The more we probe it, the harder it becomes to comprehend. In the eight articles on this page we take a tour of our fundamental understanding of the world around us, starting with an attempt to define reality and ending with the idea that whatever reality is, it isn’t what it seems.

Luciano Lampi's curator insight, January 8, 11:55 AM

Dream about this question....

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The Hidden Geometry of Complex, Network-Driven Contagion Phenomena

The global spread of epidemics, rumors, opinions, and innovations are complex, network-driven dynamic processes. The combined multiscale nature and intrinsic heterogeneity of the underlying networks make it difficult to develop an intuitive understanding of these processes, to distinguish relevant from peripheral factors, to predict their time course, and to locate their origin. However, we show that complex spatiotemporal patterns can be reduced to surprisingly simple, homogeneous wave propagation patterns, if conventional geographic distance is replaced by a probabilistically motivated effective distance. In the context of global, air-traffic–mediated epidemics, we show that effective distance reliably predicts disease arrival times. Even if epidemiological parameters are unknown, the method can still deliver relative arrival times. The approach can also identify the spatial origin of spreading processes and successfully be applied to data of the worldwide 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and 2003 SARS epidemic.


The Hidden Geometry of Complex, Network-Driven Contagion Phenomena
Dirk Brockmann, Dirk Helbing

Science 13 December 2013:
Vol. 342 no. 6164 pp. 1337-1342
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1245200

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ComplexInsight's curator insight, December 31, 2013 3:59 AM

This is an awesome insight that needs tested across other datasets to find out how universal it is. Good paper.

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Can we build a quantum computer?

Can we build a quantum computer? | Papers | Scoop.it

When people first hear about quantum computers, a common response is “where and when can I get one?” But that’s the wrong question, and not just because you’ll be disappointed with the answer. Quantum computers are often said to promise faster, bigger, more multi-layered computation—but they are not, and might never be, an upgrade of your laptop. They’re just not that sort of machine. So what are they, and why do we want them?

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Bee pollination improves crop quality, shelf life and commercial value

In this study, exclusion experiments with strawberries showed bee pollination to improve fruit quality, quantity and market value compared with wind and self-pollination.

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Efficient discovery of overlapping communities in massive networks

Efficient discovery of overlapping communities in massive networks | Papers | 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.


Via Claudia Mihai
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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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Extrapolating Weak Selection in Evolutionary Games

In evolutionary game dynamics in finite populations, selection intensity plays a key role in determining the impact of the game on reproductive success. Weak selection is often employed to obtain analytical results in evolutionary game theory. We investigate the validity of weak selection predictions for stronger intensities of selection. We prove that in general qualitative results obtained under weak selection fail to extend even to moderate selection strengths for games with either more than two strategies or more than two players. In particular, we find that even in pairwise interactions qualitative changes with changing selection intensity arise almost certainly in the case of a large number of strategies.


Wu B, García J, Hauert C, Traulsen A (2013) Extrapolating Weak Selection in Evolutionary Games. PLoS Comput Biol 9(12): e1003381. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003381

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Early-warning signals of topological collapse in interbank networks

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.


Via Claudia Mihai
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Goodbye Copernicus, Hello Universe

Goodbye Copernicus, Hello Universe | Papers | Scoop.it

When Copernicus told us more than 400 years ago that the Earth was not at the center of the universe, he could hardly have imagined that it would lead this far. At the hands of astronomy and cosmology, we seem to have been reduced to near nothingness, specks within slivers of time and space, inside specks that are themselves entire universes. But how should we interpret this fact? Does this ultimate extension of the Copernican narrative seal our infinitely mediocre fate? The question is more complex than it initially seems.

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Scale-free power-laws as interaction between progress and diffusion

While scale-free power-laws are frequently found in social and technological systems, their authenticity, origin, and gained insights are often questioned, and rightfully so. The article presents a newly found rank-frequency power-law that aligns the top-500 supercomputers according to their performance. Pursuing a cautious approach in a systematic way, we check for authenticity, evaluate several potential generative mechanisms, and ask the “so what” question. We evaluate and finally reject the applicability of well-known potential generative mechanisms such as preferential attachment, self-organized criticality, optimization, and random observation. Instead, the microdata suggest that an inverse relationship between exponential technological progress and exponential technology diffusion through social networks results in the identified fat-tail distribution. This newly identified generative mechanism suggests that the supply and demand of technology (“technology push” and “demand pull”) align in exponential synchronicity, providing predictive insights into the evolution of highly uncertain technology markets.


Scale-free power-laws as interaction between progress and diffusion
Martin Hilbert

Complexity
Early View

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cplx.21485

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Structural balance in the social networks of a wild mammal

•We tested the theory of structural balance (i.e. ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’) in rock hyrax social networks.
•We found that in accordance with structural balance, hyraxes tend to form balanced triads.
•Hyraxes changed their social configurations over time, moving into more balanced triads.
•New individuals in the population introduced social instability.
•Triad sex ratio affected the triad type it changed to.


Structural balance in the social networks of a wild mammal
Amiyaal Ilany, Adi Barocas, Lee Koren, Michael Kam, Eli Geffen

Animal Behaviour
Volume 85, Issue 6, June 2013, Pages 1397–1405

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.03.032

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A Scalable Heuristic for Viral Marketing Under the Tipping Model

In a "tipping" model, each node in a social network, representing an individual, adopts a property or behavior if a certain number of his incoming neighbors currently exhibit the same. In viral marketing, a key problem is to select an initial "seed" set from the network such that the entire network adopts any behavior given to the seed. Here we introduce a method for quickly finding seed sets that scales to very large networks. Our approach finds a set of nodes that guarantees spreading to the entire network under the tipping model. After experimentally evaluating 31 real-world networks, we found that our approach often finds seed sets that are several orders of magnitude smaller than the population size and outperform nodal centrality measures in most cases. In addition, our approach scales well - on a Friendster social network consisting of 5.6 million nodes and 28 million edges we found a seed set in under 3.6 hours. Our experiments also indicate that our algorithm provides small seed sets even if high-degree nodes are removed. Lastly, we find that highly clustered local neighborhoods, together with dense network-wide community structures, suppress a trend's ability to spread under the tipping model.


A Scalable Heuristic for Viral Marketing Under the Tipping Model
Paulo Shakarian, Sean Eyre, Damon Paulo

http://arxiv.org/abs/1309.2963

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The expert game -- Cooperation in social communication

Large parts of professional human communication proceed in a request-reply fashion, whereby requests contain specifics of the information desired while replies can deliver the required information. However, time limitations often force individuals to prioritize some while neglecting others. This dilemma will inevitably force individuals into defecting against some communication partners to give attention to others. Furthermore, communication entirely breaks down when individuals act purely egoistically as replies would never be issued and quest for desired information would always be prioritized. Here we present an experiment, termed "The expert game", where a number of individuals communicate with one-another through an electronic messaging system. By imposing a strict limit on the number of sent messages, individuals were required to decide between requesting information that is beneficial for themselves or helping others by replying to their requests. In the experiment, individuals were assigned the task to find the expert on a specific topic and receive a reply from that expert. Tasks and expertise of each player were periodically re-assigned to randomize the required interactions. Resisting this randomization, a non-random network of cooperative communication between individuals formed. We use a simple Bayesian inference algorithm to model each player's trust in the cooperativity of others with good experimental agreement. Our results suggest that human communication in groups of individuals is strategic and favors cooperation with trusted parties at the cost of defection against others. To establish and maintain trusted links a significant fraction of time-resources is allocated, even in situations where the information transmitted is negligible.


The expert game -- Cooperation in social communication
Kristian Moss Bendtsen, Florian Uekermann, Jan O. Haerter

http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.6715

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Persistence of social signatures in human communication

We combine cell phone data with survey responses to show that a person’s social signature, as we call the pattern of their interactions with different friends and family members, is remarkably robust. People focus a high proportion of their communication efforts on a small number of individuals, and this behavior persists even when there are changes in the identity of the individuals involved. Although social signatures vary between individuals, a given individual appears to retain a specific social signature over time. Our results are likely to reflect limitations in the ability of humans to maintain many emotionally close relationships, both because of limited time and because the emotional “capital” that individuals can allocate between family members and friends is finite.


Persistence of social signatures in human communication

Jari Saramäki, E. A. Leicht, Eduardo López, Sam G. B. Roberts, Felix Reed-Tsochas, and Robin I. M. Dunbar

PNAS

http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1308540110

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Towards Passive Political Opinion Polling using Twitter

Social media platforms, such as Twitter, provide a forum for political communication where politicians broadcast messages and where the general public engages in the discussion of pertinent political issues. The open nature of Twitter, together with its large volume of traffic, makes it a useful resource for new forms of ‘passive’ opinion polling , i.e. automatically monitoring and detecting which key issues the general public is concerned about and inferring their voting intentions. In this paper, we present a number of case studies for the automatic analysis of UK political tweets. We investigate the automated sentiment analysis of tweets from UK Members of Parliament (MPs) towards the main political parties. We then investigate using the volume and sentiment of the tweets from other users as a proxy for their voting intention and compare the results against existing poll data. Finally we conduct automatic identification of the key topics discussed by both the MPs and users on Twitter and compare them with the main political issues identified in traditional opinion polls. We describe our data collection methods, analysis tools and evaluation framework and discuss our results and the factors affecting their accuracy.


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M. Edward (Ed) Borasky's curator insight, January 6, 7:15 PM

For a variety of statistical reasons I'm skeptical, but this is an important research area so I'm posting this.

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An archaeal origin of eukaryotes supports only two primary domains of life

An archaeal origin of eukaryotes supports only two primary domains of life | Papers | Scoop.it

The discovery of the Archaea and the proposal of the three-domains ‘universal’ tree, based on ribosomal RNA and core genes mainly involved in protein translation, catalysed new ideas for cellular evolution and eukaryotic origins. However, accumulating evidence suggests that the three-domains tree may be incorrect: evolutionary trees made using newer methods place eukaryotic core genes within the Archaea, supporting hypotheses in which an archaeon participated in eukaryotic origins by founding the host lineage for the mitochondrial endosymbiont. These results provide support for only two primary domains of life—Archaea and Bacteria—because eukaryotes arose through partnership between them.


An archaeal origin of eukaryotes supports only two primary domains of life
Tom A. Williams, Peter G. Foster, Cymon J. Cox & T. Martin Embley

Nature 504, 231–236 (12 December 2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12779

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Universal flow-density relation of single-file bicycle, pedestrian and car motion

The relation between flow and density, also known as the fundamental diagram, is an essential quantitative characteristic to describe the efficiency of traffic systems. We have performed experiments with single-file motion of bicycles and compare the results with previous studies for car and pedestrian motion in similar setups. In the space-time diagrams we observe three different states of motion (free flow state, jammed state and stop-and-go waves) in all these systems. Despite of their obvious differences they are described by a universal fundamental diagram after proper rescaling of space and time which takes into account the size and free velocity of the three kinds of agents. This indicates that the similarities between the systems go deeper than expected.


Universal flow-density relation of single-file bicycle, pedestrian and car motion
Jun Zhang, Wolfgang Mehner, Stefan Holl, Maik Boltes, Erik Andresen, Andreas Schadschneider, Armin Seyfried

http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.2735

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Adaptive value of same-sex pairing in Laysan albatross

Same-sex pairing is widespread among animals but is difficult to explain in an evolutionary context because it does not result in reproduction...

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How Fisheries Affect Evolution

The extensive exploitation of marine resources by modern fisheries (...) has wide-ranging effects on marine ecosystems. Across the world's oceans, size-selective harvesting by commercial fisheries has been a key driving force behind changes in phenotypic traits such as body size and age at maturation (1–3). These changes have altered the trophic structure of the affected ecosystems, disturbed predatorprey relationships, and modified trophic cascade dynamics (3, 4). Phenotypic changes can involve both ecological and evolutionary reactions to the effect of fishing, and there has been much debate about the relative roles of these reactions. This is important because genetic changes could result in long-term reductions in catches. Recent work has provided evidence for fisheries-induced evolutionary changes, with important implications for the sustainability of fisheries.


How Fisheries Affect Evolution
Andrea Belgrano, Charles W. Fowler

Science 6 December 2013:
Vol. 342 no. 6163 pp. 1176-1177
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1245490

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Subliminal Influence or Plagiarism by Negligence? The Slodderwetenschap of Ignoring the Internet

Does the availability of instant reference checking and “find more like this” research on the Internet change the standards by which academics should feel “obligated” to cite the work of others? Is the deliberate refusal to look for the existence of parallel work by others an ethical lapse or merely negligence? At a minimum, the Dutch standard of Slodderwetenschap (sloppy science) is clearly at work. At a maximum so is plagiarism. In between sits the process to be labeled as ‘plagiarism by negligence’. This article seeks to expose the intellectual folly of allowing such a plagiarism to be tolerated by the academy through a discussion of the cases of Terrence Deacon and Stephen Wolfram.


Subliminal Influence or Plagiarism by Negligence? The Slodderwetenschap of Ignoring the Internet

Michael Lissack

http://isce.edu/Subliminal.pdf

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Arjen ten Have's comment, December 4, 2013 2:01 PM
The Dutch standard of Slodderwetenschap? Bit sloppy, it is a recent Dutch word, hope not ths standard.
Ellie Kesselman Wells's comment, December 5, 2013 4:43 PM
Excellent subject matter! Thank you!