Il paradosso, sempre più evidente in questi ultimi anni, è che le strutture più robuste nei confronti dei pericoli prevedibili si dimostrano essere le più fragili di fronte a situazioni impreviste. John Doyle, scienziato del California Institute of Technology, ha coniato il termine “robust-yet-fragile” (“robusto-ma-fragile”) o “RYF” per descrivere l’architettura di sistemi di questo tipo, in grado di resistere di fronte ai pericoli previsti ma estremamente fragili rispetto a minacce impreviste. I sistemi RYF sono quelli più diffusi nel nostro ambiente economico e sociale: sono efficienti ed affidabili, spesso dando l’illusione di poter durare per sempre.”
Large-scale data from social media have a significant potential to describe complex phenomena in real world and to anticipate collective behaviors such as information spreading and social trends. One specific case of study is represented by the collective attention to the action of political parties. Not surprisingly, researchers and stakeholders tried to correlate parties' presence on social media with their performances in elections. Despite the many efforts, results are still inconclusive since this kind of data is often very noisy and significant signals could be covered by (largely unknown) statistical fluctuations. In this paper we consider the number of tweets (tweet volume) of a party as a proxy of collective attention to the party, we identify the dynamics of the volume, and show that this quantity has some information on the elections outcome. We find that the distribution of the tweet volume for each party follows a log-normal distribution with a positive autocorrelation over short terms. Furthermore, by measuring the ratio of two consecutive daily tweet volumes, we find that the evolution of the daily volume of a party can be described by means of a geometric Brownian motion. Finally, we determine the optimal period of averaging tweet volume for reducing fluctuations and extracting short-term tendencies. We conclude that the tweet volume is a good indicator of parties' success in the elections when considered over an optimal time window. Our study identifies the statistical nature of collective attention to political issues and sheds light on how to model the dynamics of collective attention in social media.
Twitter-based analysis of the dynamics of collective attention to political parties Young-Ho Eom, Michelangelo Puliga, Jasmina Smailović, Igor Mozetič, Guido Caldarelli
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
Contemporary complexity theory has been instrumental in providing novel rigorous definitions for some classic philosophical concepts, including emergence. In an attempt to provide an account of emergence that is consistent with complexity and dynamical systems theory, several authors have turned to the notion of constraints on state transitions. Drawing on complexity theory directly, this paper builds on those accounts, further developing the constraint-based interpretation of emergence and arguing that such accounts recover many of the features of more traditional accounts. We show that the constraint-based account of emergence also leads naturally into a meaningful definition of self-organization, another concept that has received increasing attention recently. Along the way, we distinguish between order and organization, two concepts which are frequently conflated. Finally, we consider possibilities for future research in the philosophy of complex systems, as well as applications of the distinctions made in this paper.
Self-Organization, Emergence, and Constraint in Complex Natural Systems Jonathan Lawhead
The International System is a self-organized system and shows emergent behavior. During the timeframe (1495 - 1945), a finite-time singularity and four accompanying accelerating log-periodic cycles shaped the dynamics of the International System. The accelerated growth of the connectivity of the regulatory network of the International System, in combination with its anarchistic structure, produce and shape the war dynamics of the system. Accelerated growth of the connectivity of the International system is fed by population growth and the need for social systems to fulfill basic requirements. The finite-time singularity and accompanying log-periodic oscillations were instrumental in the periodic reorganization of the regulatory network of the International System, and contributed to a long-term process of social expansion and integration in Europa. The singularity dynamic produced a series of organizational innovations. At the critical time of the singularity (1939) the connectivity of the system reached a critical threshold, resulting in a critical transition. This critical transition caused a fundamental reorganization of the International System: Europe transformed from an anarchistic system to cooperative security community. This critical transition also marks the actual globalization of the International System. During the life span of cycles, the war dynamics show chaotic characteristics. Various early-warning signals can be identified, and can probably be used in the current International System. These findings have implications for the social sciences and historical research.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web 25 years ago. So it’s worth a listen when he warns us: There’s a battle ahead. Eroding net neutrality, filter bubbles and centralizing corporate control all threaten the web’s wide-open spaces. It’s up to users to fight for the right to access and openness. The question is, What kind of Internet do we want?
“Vienna, 28 July 1914 — The Royal Serbian Government not having answered in a satisfactory manner the note of July 23, 1914, presented by the Austro-Hungarian Minister at Belgrade, the Imperial and Royal Government are themselves compelled to see to the safeguarding of their rights and interests, and, with this object, to have recourse to force of
“As I watched films of these ant colonies, it looked like what was happening at the synapse of neurons. Both of these systems accumulate evidence about their inputs—returning ants or incoming voltage pulses—to make their decisions about whether to generate an output—an outgoing forager or a packet of neurotransmitter,” Goldman said. On his next trip to Stanford, he extended his stay. An unusual research collaboration had begun to coalesce: Ants would be used to study the brain, and the brain, to study ants.
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
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
The question What is Complexity? has occupied a great deal of time and paper over the last 20 or so years. There are a myriad different perspectives and definitions but still no consensus. In this paper I take a phenomenological approach, identifying several factors that discriminate well between systems that would be consensually agreed to be simple versus others that would be consensually agreed to be complex - biological systems and human languages. I argue that a crucial component is that of structural building block hierarchies that, in the case of complex systems, correspond also to a functional hierarchy. I argue that complexity is an emergent property of this structural/functional hierarchy, induced by a property - fitness in the case of biological systems and meaning in the case of languages - that links the elements of this hierarchy across multiple scales. Additionally, I argue that non-complex systems "are" while complex systems "do" so that the latter, in distinction to physical systems, must be described not only in a space of states but also in a space of update rules (strategies) which we do not know how to specify. Further, the existence of structural/functional building block hierarchies allows for the functional specialisation of structural modules as amply observed in nature. Finally, we argue that there is at least one measuring apparatus capable of measuring complexity as characterised in the paper - the human brain itself.
This video explains our research on autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The research team at the Alpen-Adria University and Lakeside Labs developing a multi-UAV system by four key components: - the multiple UAV platforms,
Mathematical model shows how hundreds of starlings coordinate their movements in flight.
A flock of starlings flies as one, a spectacular display in which each bird flits about as if in a well-choreographed dance. Everyone seems to know exactly when and where to turn. Now, for the first time, researchers have measured how that knowledge moves through the flock—a behavior that mirrors certain quantum phenomena of liquid helium.
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