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Social Foraging
Dynamics of Social Interaction
Curated by Ashish Umre
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An Improved Swarm Optimization for Parameter Estimation and Biological Model Selection

An Improved Swarm Optimization for Parameter Estimation and Biological Model Selection | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

One of the key aspects of computational systems biology is the investigation on the dynamic biological processes within cells. Computational models are often required to elucidate the mechanisms and principles driving the processes because of the nonlinearity and complexity. The models usually incorporate a set of parameters that signify the physical properties of the actual biological systems. In most cases, these parameters are estimated by fitting the model outputs with the corresponding experimental data. However, this is a challenging task because the available experimental data are frequently noisy and incomplete. In this paper, a new hybrid optimization method is proposed to estimate these parameters from the noisy and incomplete experimental data. The proposed method, called Swarm-based Chemical Reaction Optimization, integrates the evolutionary searching strategy employed by the Chemical Reaction Optimization, into the neighbouring searching strategy of the Firefly Algorithm method. The effectiveness of the method was evaluated using a simulated nonlinear model and two biological models: synthetic transcriptional oscillators, and extracellular protease production models. The results showed that the accuracy and computational speed of the proposed method were better than the existing Differential Evolution, Firefly Algorithm and Chemical Reaction Optimization methods. The reliability of the estimated parameters was statistically validated, which suggests that the model outputs produced by these parameters were valid even when noisy and incomplete experimental data were used. Additionally, Akaike Information Criterion was employed to evaluate the model selection, which highlighted the capability of the proposed method in choosing a plausible model based on the experimental data. In conclusion, this paper presents the effectiveness of the proposed method for parameter estimation and model selection problems using noisy and incomplete experimental data. This study is hoped to provide a new insight in developing more accurate and reliable biological models based on limited and low quality experimental data.

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Together We’re Smarter: Tips for Using Digital Learning to Make the Most of Collective Intelligence

Together We’re Smarter: Tips for Using Digital Learning to Make the Most of Collective Intelligence | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Whenever I speak at a conference I take the same approach – I look for ways to get people talking to one-another and contributing to the session. I figure; we’ve got a room full of smart, highly ex...

Via Viktor Markowski
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Viktor Markowski's curator insight, April 18, 2013 11:30 AM

A simple but sound advice

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Tynker Launches Revolutionary New Platform for Teaching Programming Skills to Young Learners

Tynker Launches Revolutionary New Platform for Teaching Programming Skills to Young Learners | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

(http://www.Tynker.com), a new company focused on helping children develop computational thinking and programming skills, today announced the general availability of the Tynker Learning Platform. After successfully piloting Tynker with young learners in over 20 elementary and middle schools, the company’s programming skills platform is now available to teachers and schools across the United States and Canada. Teachers can set up a programming skills classroom at http://www.Tynker.com to immediately try out this highly interactive computational learning platform for free.

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Sue Blough's curator insight, April 21, 2013 11:20 PM

This sounds particularly attractive to those who favor Logical/Mathematical and Spatial learning experiences. The program focusses on building a strong foundation in STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and math).

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Agents of influence: Giving those 'who fly the economy more information and a better control stick'

Models of complex systems have become a staple of business strategy, and now they are showing early promise for improving economic forecasts.

For cargo carriers, the most direct route is not always the cheapest. In the early 2000s, Southwest Airlines adopted a new approach to shipping: Rather than switching cargo from one flight to another to minimize the distance it covered, the airline would take circuitous routes to destinations on fewer flights. The strategy seemed counterintuitive, but it has saved the company millions of dollars in storage rentals and cargo handlers’ wages.

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Ants are good at crowd control!

Ants are good at crowd control! | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

"Go to the ant," is the instruction. But when ants are crowded, they cannot get around their trails so easily. Without external control on the Lasius niger colony, crowding could easily lower the efficiency of working of the whole colony. In this series of experiments, Tomer J. Czaczkes, Christoph Gruter and Francis L. W. Ratnieks found that crowding reduced pheromone deposition by workers.

 

They publish their paper today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The ants' trail pheromones are normally deposited regularly on trails, but when experimentation reduced "crowding" artificially, their deposition reduced by a factor of 5 or 6.

 

While humans and other species coordinate their individuals with top-down instruction, complex control mechanisms can be necessary in routing procedures For example the "dynamic task allocation" you can hear about in a factory or similar institution. Insects are expert, on the other hand, in using bottom-up mechanisms like these in order to regulate collective behaviour.

 

The black garden ant in the grounds of the University of Sussex is a common but useful member of the community. Collected in the University grounds, plastic 40x30x20cm plastic boxes housed the foraging activity of 500-1000 workers with no queen involved. Some brood encouraged normal behaviours in Plaster-of Paris nests, forming living quarters within the plastic boxes. As there were no complaints, we assume the ants were comfortable with the accommodation, all meals provided (with experiments).

 

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Alt Text: Your Guide to Data After Death

Alt Text: Your Guide to Data After Death | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Google has introduced the “Inactive Account Manager,” which is a polite way of saying “Decide what you want us to do with your data after you’re dead, because we will outlive you and your children and your children’s children. Google is forever. Google is eternal. Look upon my Web, ye mighty, and despair.” Or something like that.

 

Now we all know that Google is rarely the first to do things. It generally takes existing services — search, e-mail, ignoring your privacy settings — and attempts to improve on them. This is no exception. Here are some other services that actually exist to help you deal with your data after you’ve kicked the bit bucket.

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Court transcripts, military reports reveal telling patterns in information

Court transcripts, military reports reveal telling patterns in information | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

If you were to wander the halls of a courthouse during a murder trail, could you predict the verdict from the conversations you would overhear? And what would be the smallest amount of information you would require to make that prediction? 

 

Discovering patterns in information is more than a game of courtroom prescience; it is a serious matter with applications in warfare, stock markets, human health, and other complex systems. 

 

Finding a reliable technique for detecting such patterns, however, is difficult. SFI Research Fellow Simon DeDeo, SFI Graduate Fellow Sara Klingenstein, and undergraduate researcher Robert Hawkins are drawing on information theory and a couple of remarkable data sets for help. 

In one example, the researchers analyzed some 250 years of transcripts from the Old Bailey criminal court in England to look for patterns in trials that led to guilty verdicts.

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The Lab Beneath the Skin: Implantable wireless biosensors

Clinical laboratory tests are like snapshot photos: you draw some blood, send it to the lab, and (eventually) get an impression of body’s metabolic condition at the moment the needle pierced the skin. How much cooler it would be if there were something like cell-phone video—a continuous succession of data on the fluctuations of key biological parameters, covering not just a moment or an hour, but weeks and even months. Such a device could transform both medical research and the clinical monitoring of chronic conditions like diabetes.

 

An interdisciplinary team at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) is one of the groups pursuing implantable wireless biosensors. At the Design, Automation and Test in Europe (DATE) conference in Grenoble, France, researchers Giovanni De Micheli, Sandro Carrara, and co-workers reported progress on their i-IronIC biosensor system. The device consists of an implanted miniature laboratory built into a tiny box just 2.2 by 2.2 by 15 millimeters and a skin patch that provides power, controls, and data relays between the patch and a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone.

 

Into the 0.07 milliliter implant package, the researchers have packed five customizable biomolecule detectors, along with monitors for pH and temperature. The pH sensor is based on iridium oxide; the thermometer is platinum. Each of the  biomolecule sensors is a three-electrode detector whose working electrodes are coated with a special layer comprising chitosan (an antibacterial long-chain sugar often used in implantable devices), multiwall carbon nanotubes, and an enzyme that catalyzes the molecule of interest.  The chemical reactions produce current flows within the detector. They are interpreted by a built-in microprocessor (the device is capable of both voltammetric and amperometric analysis) and then transmitted to the power-and-communications patch on the patient’s skin.

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Google search: three bugs to fix with better data science

These big data problems probably impact many search engines. It also proves that there is still room for new start-up to invent superior search engines. These problems can be fixed with improved analytics and data science.
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TrackLab: Recognition and Analysis of Spatial Behaviour

TrackLab: Recognition and Analysis of Spatial Behaviour | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

We all use location systems in our everyday lives, varying from navigation systems to GPS trackers. The abundance of location and tracking systems offers you an immense amount of data at low cost. But how do you use this data in professional applications or research projects? How do you extract meaningful information from this data? How do you enable other systems to interact with the data? We now have the solution that answers all of these questions: TrackLab!

 

Whether you work on consumer behavior research, visitor behavior studies, spatial cognition, behavioral ecology, wildlife or farm animals, or develop interactive systems, TrackLab will aid you in your work. It is compatible with various indoor and outdoor tracking systems, such as GPS, Ultra Wide Band, video tracking or stereo camera sensors.

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'Chinese Google' (Baidu) Opens Artificial-Intelligence Lab in Silicon Valley

'Chinese Google' (Baidu) Opens Artificial-Intelligence Lab in Silicon Valley | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

It doesn’t look like much. The brick office building sits next to a strip mall in Cupertino, California, about an hour south of San Francisco, and if you walk inside, you’ll find a California state flag and a cardboard cutout of R2-D2 and plenty of Christmas decorations — even though we’re well into April.

But there are big plans for this building. It’s where Baidu — “the Google of China” — hopes to create the future.

 

In late January, word arrived that the Chinese search giant was setting up a research lab dedicated to “deep learning” — an emerging computer science field that seeks to mimic the human brain with hardware and software — and as it turns out, this lab includes an operation here in Silicon Valley, not far from Apple headquarters, in addition to a facility back in China. The company just hired its first researcher in Cupertino, with plans to bring in several more by the end of the year.

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Evolution of collective action in adaptive social structures

Many problems in nature can be conveniently framed as a problem of evolution of collective cooperative behaviour, often modelled resorting to the tools of evolutionary game theory in well-mixed populations, combined with an appropriate N-person dilemma. Yet, the well-mixed assumption fails to describe the population dynamics whenever individuals have a say in deciding which groups they will participate. Here we propose a simple model in which dynamical group formation is described as a result of a topological evolution of a social network of interactions. We show analytically how evolutionary dynamics under public goods games in finite adaptive networks can be effectively transformed into a N-Person dilemma involving both coordination and co-existence. Such dynamics would be impossible to foresee from more conventional 2-person interactions as well as from descriptions based on infinite, well-mixed populations. Finally, we show how stochastic effects help rendering cooperation viable, promoting polymorphic configurations in which cooperators prevail.

 

Evolution of collective action in adaptive social structures

João A. Moreira, Jorge M. Pacheco & Francisco C. Santos

Scientific Reports 3, Article number: 1521 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep01521


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Mind-expanding: America’s neuroscience initiative

Mind-expanding: America’s neuroscience initiative | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

AFTER much trailing, the reality is out. On April 2nd President Barack Obama announced that America’s government will back a project intended to unlock the mysteries of the human brain. It was, according to the trails, to have been known as the Brain Activity Map. But someone clearly spotted that BAM, as an acronym, is a hostage to fortune and the project is now to be known as the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies initiative. By what is no doubt a complete coincidence, that spells “BRAIN”.

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Kasia Hein-Peters's curator insight, April 5, 2013 6:22 PM

I am curious what we will learn through the BRAIN project and I have high hopes.

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The Science of What We Do (and Don't) Know About Data Visualization

The Science of What We Do (and Don't) Know About Data Visualization | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Visualization is easy, right? After all, it's just some colorful shapes and a few text labels. But things are more complex than they seem, largely due to the the ways we see and digest charts, graphs, and other data-driven images. While scientifically-backed studies do exist, there are actually many things we don't know about how and why visualization works. To help you make better decisions when visualizing your data, here's a brief tour of the research.

 

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Researchers Map Shortcuts between all Human Genes

Researchers Map Shortcuts between all Human Genes | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Some diseases are caused by single gene mutations. Current techniques for identifying the disease-causing gene in a patient produce hundreds of potential gene candidates, making it difficult for scientists to pinpoint the single causative gene. Now, a team of researchers led by Rockefeller University scientists has created a map of gene “shortcuts” to simplify the hunt for disease-causing genes.

 

The investigation, spearheaded by Yuval Itan, a postdoctoral fellow in the St. Giles Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases, has led to the creation of what he calls the human gene connectome, the full set of distances, routes (the genes on the way) and degrees of separation between any two human genes. Itan, a computational biologist, says the computer program he developed to generate the connectome uses the same principles that GPS navigation devices use to plan a trip between two locations. The research is reported in the online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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The economy needs agent-based modelling

In this article the authors propose the used of agent-based models to assess policies that address economic recovery. The authors are critical of the econometric and dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models employ by U.S. administration arguing that the models have fatal flaws. Thus, the authors discuss the advantages and application of agent-based models, which is a computerized simulation of a number of decision-makers and institutions that interact under prescribed rules.
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Michael Holder's comment, April 19, 2013 11:55 PM
free version of above not easily found - here's a pdf version: http://tuvalu.santafe.edu/~jdf/papers/EconomyNeeds.pdf
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From Data to Decisions: A Value Chain for Big Data

With exponential growth in data, enterprises must act to make the most of the vast data landscape—to thoughtfully apply multiple technologies, carefully select key data for specific investigations, and innovatively tailor large integrated datasets to support specific queries and analyses. All these actions will flow from a data value chain—a framework to manage data holistically from capture to decision making and to support a variety of stakeholders and their technologies.

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Negative feedback in ants: crowding results in less trail pheromone deposition

Crowding in human transport networks reduces efficiency. Efficiency can be increased by appropriate control mechanisms, which are often imposed externally. Ant colonies also have distribution networks to feeding sites outside the nest and can experience crowding. However, ants do not have external controllers or leaders. Here, we report a self-organized negative feedback mechanism, based on local information, which downregulates the production of recruitment signals in crowded parts of a network by Lasius niger ants. We controlled crowding by manipulating trail width and the number of ants on a trail, and observed a 5.6-fold reduction in the number of ants depositing trail pheromone from least to most crowded conditions. We also simulated crowding by placing glass beads covered in nest-mate cuticular hydrocarbons on the trail. After 10 bead encounters over 20 cm, forager ants were 45 per cent less likely to deposit pheromone. The mechanism of negative feedback reported here is unusual in that it acts by downregulating the production of a positive feedback signal, rather than by direct inhibition or the production of an inhibitory signal.

 
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Artificial Intelligence Can Now Beat Super Mario Bros.

Artificial Intelligence Can Now Beat Super Mario Bros. | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Tired of playing video games now that the sun is starting to make regular appearances and the outside world is looking more inviting? Good news! Now there’s a computer program that can play your video games for you! Computer scientist Tom Murphy has developed an artificial intelligence that can play NES games like Super Mario Bros. all by itself. It doesn’t even have to trade off the controller with its kid brother every other life.

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Shocking Paper Claims That Microsoft Excel Coding Error Is Behind The Reinhart-Rogoff Study On Debt

Shocking Paper Claims That Microsoft Excel Coding Error Is Behind The Reinhart-Rogoff Study On Debt | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

In 2010, economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff released a paper, "Growth in a Time of Debt." Their "main result is that...median growth rates for countries with public debt over 90 percent of GDP are roughly one percent lower than otherwise; average (mean) growth rates are several percent lower." Countries with debt-to-GDP ratios above 90 percent have a slightly negative average growth rate, in fact.

 

This has been one of the most cited stats in the public debate during the Great Recession. Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity budget states their study "found conclusive empirical evidence that [debt] exceeding 90 percent of the economy has a significant negative effect on economic growth." The Washington Post editorial board takes it as an economic consensus view, stating that "debt-to-GDP could keep rising — and stick dangerously near the 90 percent mark that economists regard as a threat to sustainable economic growth." 

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UDOO: Android, Linux and ArduinoTM in a tiny single-board computer

Support us on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/XBthCV UDOO is a mini PC that could run either Android or Linux, with an Arduino-compatible board embedded. UDOO is ...
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How to get reliable results on object recognition using automated video tracking

How to get reliable results on object recognition using automated video tracking | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

In the beginning of this year I wrote a post about the Morris water maze test, a popular and well-validated paradigm to study learning and memory in rats and mice. This blog is about another very popular test, the (novel) object recognition task.


Novel object recognition

 

This basic idea behind this test is simple; a mouse (or rat) spends more time and attention on a novel object than on a familiar one. If it doesn’t, then something must be wrong with its memory. Not surprisingly, the novel object test is a useful method to evaluate the efficacy of memory enhancing compounds

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Building Tools to Data Mine Unstructured Text using a Machine Learning API

ai-one's Topic-Mapper API enables programmers to develop software that can learn like a human. This presentation describes how to build an application to mine data from unstructured text using a combination of machine learning, natural language processing (NLP) and clustering technologies. 

The source code for this text analytics program is available as a reference design for others to modify to meet specific industry and use case requirements.
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See-through brains clarify connections

See-through brains clarify connections | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A chemical treatment that turns whole organs transparent offers a big boost to the field of ‘connectomics’ — the push to map the brain’s fiendishly complicated wiring. Scientists could use the technique to view large networks of neurons with unprecedented ease and accuracy. The technology also opens up new research avenues for old brains that were saved from patients and healthy donors.

 

“This is probably one of the most important advances for doing neuroanatomy in decades,” says Thomas Insel, director of the US National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, which funded part of the work. Existing technology allows scientists to see neurons and their connections in microscopic detail — but only across tiny slivers of tissue. Researchers must reconstruct three-dimensional data from images of these thin slices. Aligning hundreds or even thousands of these snapshots to map long-range projections of nerve cells is laborious and error-prone, rendering fine-grain analysis of whole brains practically impossible.

 

The new method instead allows researchers to see directly into optically transparent whole brains or thick blocks of brain tissue. Called CLARITY, it was devised by Karl Deisseroth and his team at Stanford University in California. “You can get right down to the fine structure of the system while not losing the big picture,” says Deisseroth, who adds that his group is in the process of rendering an entire human brain transparent.

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Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops

Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The premise of a feedback loop is simple: Provide people with information about their actions in real time, then give them a chance to change those actions, pushing them toward better behaviors. 


Via Spaceweaver, Complexity Digest
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Spaceweaver's curator insight, March 31, 2013 11:29 AM

In this article from 2011, Thomas has already discussed how Internet of Things will help us change or improve our behavior.  Internet of Things is becoming more ubiquitous as new apps are using our smarphone's sensors to measure our behavior. But as much as we can change with this feedback, learning algorithms will soon be using these sensors to adapt, and at a major speed than humans do.