Social Foraging
Follow
Find
56.5K views | +19 today
Social Foraging
Dynamics of Social Interaction
Curated by Ashish Umre
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Easily distracted people may have too much brain

Those who are easily distracted from the task in hand may have "too much brain".

 

So says Ryota Kanai and his colleagues at University College London, who found larger than average volumes of grey matter in certain brain regions in those whose attention is readily diverted.

 

To investigate distractibility, the team compared the brains of easy and difficult-to-distract individuals.

They assessed each person's distractibility by quizzing them about how often they fail to notice road signs, or go into a supermarket and become sidetracked to the point that they forget what they came in to buy. The most distractible individuals received the highest score.

 

The team then imaged the volunteers' brains using a structural MRI scanner. The most obvious difference between those who had the highest questionnaire scores – the most easily distracted – and those with low scores was the volume of grey matter in a region of the brain known as the left superior parietal lobe (SPL). Specifically, the easily distracted tended to have more grey matter here.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Glass beads used to mimic butterfly wings

Glass beads used to mimic butterfly wings | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Butterfly wing material is somewhat like spider silk, in that they’re both animal-produced substances which scientists are very interested in copying. In the case of butterfly wings, it’s their ability to brilliantly reflect light in a variety of iridescent colors that could prove particularly useful to humans. Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) are reporting success in replicating the reflective properties of the insects’ wings, using tiny glass beads.

Prof. Shin Jung Hoon led the team, which set out to copy the wings of the morpho butterfly. According to the researchers, the secret to the morpho’s striking wings is that their reflective microstructure is at once ordered and chaotic. Analyzed at the 100-nanometer level, the structure is in disarray. Zoom out to the 1-micrometer level, however, and it becomes uniform.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Google Changes Search, Moves Closer To Becoming Artificial Intelligence Engine

Google began rolling out a feature that gives searchers in the United States the potential to access more relevant and in-depth responses to answers without leaving the page. The concept is built on something the company calls "knowledge graph," which ties together words to create relationships.

 

There are a multitude of sources behind this data. The search results page displays a variety of content related to keyword queries, bringing up a list of facts, photos, and landmarks, as well as quick links to other popular uses for the search term. Think of a Web beneath the user interface layer of the Internet that ties together all information across the Web.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Google Knowledge Graph straddles semantic web and Star Trek

Google’s battle to retain search supremacy is seeing it roll something it claims will take us closer to the "computers of Star Trek".

 

Google has unveiled The Knowledge Graph, which it claims will give you the answers you really want, we presume instead of a bunch of useless blogs, blue links or message fragments from Wikipedia.

 

Rollout of the Knowledge Graph has started for US English users and will be tailored to work and display on the limited screen space of smartphones and tablets.

 

This is more than the standard moving about of the bits around the screen or feeding in of crowd-surfed results from Twitter or Facebook, as Google and Microsoft (with its Bing search engine), have been doing in their attempts to outdo each other in recent years.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Multi-scale Dynamics in a Massive Online Social Network

Data confidentiality policies at major social network providers have severely limited researchers' access to large-scale datasets. The biggest impact has been on the study of network dynamics, where researchers have studied citation graphs and content-sharing networks, but few have analyzed detailed dynamics in the massive social networks that dominate the web today. In this paper, we present results of analyzing detailed dynamics in the Renren social network, covering a period of 2 years when the network grew from 1 user to 19 million users and 199 million edges. Rather than validate a single model of network dynamics, we analyze dynamics at different granularities (user-, community- and network- wide) to determine how much, if any, users are influenced by dynamics processes at different scales. We observe in- dependent predictable processes at each level, and find that while the growth of communities has moderate and sustained impact on users, significant events such as network merge events have a strong but short-lived impact that is quickly dominated by the continuous arrival of new users.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

A Spatial Model of Mosquito Host-Seeking Behavior

Mosquito host-seeking behavior and heterogeneity in host distribution are important factors in predicting the transmission dynamics of mosquito-borne infections such as dengue fever, malaria, chikungunya, and West Nile virus. We develop and analyze a new mathematical model to describe the effect of spatial heterogeneity on the contact rate between mosquito vectors and hosts. The model includes odor plumes generated by spatially distributed hosts, wind velocity, and mosquito behavior based on both the prevailing wind and the odor plume. On a spatial scale of meters and a time scale of minutes, we compare the effectiveness of different plume-finding and plume-tracking strategies that mosquitoes could use to locate a host. The results show that two different models of chemotaxis are capable of producing comparable results given appropriate parameter choices and that host finding is optimized by a strategy of flying across the wind until the odor plume is intercepted. We also assess the impact of changing the level of host aggregation on mosquito host-finding success near the end of the host-seeking flight. When clusters of hosts are more tightly associated on smaller patches, the odor plume is narrower and the biting rate per host is decreased. For two host groups of unequal number but equal spatial density, the biting rate per host is lower in the group with more individuals, indicative of an attack abatement effect of host aggregation. We discuss how this approach could assist parameter choices in compartmental models that do not explicitly model the spatial arrangement of individuals and how the model could address larger spatial scales and other probability models for mosquito behavior, such as Lévy distributions.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

AI uprising: humans will be outsourced, not obliterated

AI uprising: humans will be outsourced, not obliterated | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Forget about The Terminator, the real problem with AI (artificial intelligence) is what to do when it meets your boss or even your friends.

 

This is not the pitch for some kind of sci-fi rom-com, but rather the genuine concern of Dr Stuart Armstrong, a research fellow at Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute. His job is to think about future threats to the human race and how to confront them.

 

AI is in the top five threats to humanity that he lists quickly on the back of his napkin, set against the rather incongruous background of the student chit-chat that fills Oxford's cycling cafe, Zappi's (for the record, the other four are: pandemics, synthetic biology, nanotechnology and nuclear war).

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Podcast: Complex adaptive systems and APIs with James Urquhart of enStratus

Cloud computing requires a mindset that approaches system architecture as a much more distributed, heterogenerous, and even self-organizing entity than was the historic norm in IT. VP of Product Strategy and GigaOm blogger James Urquhart shares his thoughts on the topic as he discusses:
 - Complex adaptive systems

 - What high availability means in the cloud

 - The role of standards

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Bit by Bit: The Darwinian Basis of Life

Bit by Bit: The Darwinian Basis of Life | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
All known examples of life belong to the same biology, but there is increasing enthusiasm among astronomers, astrobiologists, and synthetic biologists that other forms of life may soon be discovered or synthesized. This enthusiasm should be tempered by the fact that the probability for life to originate is not known. As a guiding principle in parsing potential examples of alternative life, one should ask: How many heritable “bits” of information are involved, and where did they come from? A genetic system that contains more bits than the number that were required to initiate its operation might reasonably be considered a new form of life.
more...
Peter Dopson's comment, May 17, 2012 4:15 AM
Life is like making toast. Same toaster, new slices, another shade pops up.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Physicists reveal nature’s mathematical formula for survival

Physicists reveal nature’s mathematical formula for survival | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The vascular system of a leaf provides its structure and delivers its nutrients. When you light up that vascular structure with some fluorescent dye and view it using time-lapse photography, details begin to emerge that reveal nature's mathematical formula for survival.

 

When it comes to optimizing form with function, it's tough to beat Mother Nature.

 

"If you begin looking at them in any degree of detail, you will see all of those beautiful arrangements of impinging angles and where the big veins meet the little veins and how well they are arranged," says Marcelo Magnasco, a mathematical physicist at Rockefeller University in New York.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Mastering the Art of Data Complexity

Mastering the Art of Data Complexity | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

In 2013, we will produce the same amount of data every 10 minutes as was produced in the last 5,000 years before 2003. This exponentially expanding quantity is matched by increasingly complex systems to collect, transfer and process data.

How do we harness the energy of this growth in “data complexity?” There are three stages to dealing with this complexity: denial, engagement and embrace
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Reducing Brain Activity Improves Memory After Cognitive Decline

Reducing Brain Activity Improves Memory After Cognitive Decline | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A study led by a Johns Hopkins neuroscientist and published in the May 10 issue of the journal Neuron suggests a potential new therapeutic approach for improving memory and interrupting disease progression in patients with a form of cognitive impairment that often leads to full-blown Alzheimer’s disease.

 

The focus of the study was “excess brain activity” commonly associated with conditions that cause mild cognitive decline and memory loss, and are linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Previously, it had been thought that this neural hyperactivity in the hippocampus was the brain’s attempt to compensate for a weakness in forming new memories. Instead, the team found that this excess activity is contributing to conditions such as amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), in which patients’ memories are worse than would be expected in healthy people the same age.

“In the case of aMCI, it has been suggested that the increased hippocampal activation may serve a beneficial function by recruiting additional neural ‘resources’ to compensate for those that are lost,” explains lead author Michela Gallagher, the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences in the Johns Hopkins University’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. “However, animal studies have raised the alternative view that this excess activation may be contributing to memory impairment.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Whales demonstrate humans have no monopoly on altruism

Whales demonstrate humans have no monopoly on altruism | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Whales prove humans are not the only species capable of disgust at cruelty when they work to defend a baby whale of another species against predators.

 

Human haters abound in the animal rights movement. I can understand their sentiment. It’s very difficult to hear about all of the abuse inflicted upon other species of animals. But in reality some of the most heartbreaking stories I have witnessed have been animal on animal.

 

Perhaps it is more heartbreaking to hear of yet another case of human insensitivity and violence against animals because we expect more out of ourselves. A lion cannot feel any compassion for the zebra or it would have a hard time killing and surviving (although we know they feel compassion and love for their young and pride). As humans, our existence does not depend on killing anymore, so we have the luxury of developing a highly sensitive capacity for compassion toward any and everything.

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Why It's Hard to Admit to Being Wrong

It's fascinating, and sometimes funny, to read doomsday predictions, but it's even more fascinating to watch what happens to the reasoning of true believers when the prediction flops and the world keeps muddling along. Notice that hardly anyone ever says, "I blew it! I can't believe how stupid I was to believe that nonsense"?

 

On the contrary, most of the time they become even more deeply convinced of their powers of prediction. The people who believe that the Bible's book of Revelation or the writings of the sixteenth-century self-proclaimed prophet Nostradamus have predicted every disaster from the bubonic plague to 9/11 cling to their convictions, unfazed by the small problem that their vague and murky predictions were intelligible only after the event occurred.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Elementary, dear boy - how an Irish team gave the world's smartest machine its edge

Elementary, dear boy - how an Irish team gave the world's smartest machine its edge | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A research team in IBM’s Dublin campus had a reason to celebrate when LanguageWare, a technology at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence, got the upper hand over human contestants in the US game show ‘Jeopardy!’, writes KARLIN LILLINGTON

 

WHEN IBM’S extraordinary computer Watson created artificial intelligence (AI) history by beating two human players last year at the US game show Jeopardy! a research team in IBM’s Dublin campus had a little celebration themselves.

 

A core language-analysis technology that enabled Watson to understand the game show’s questions, search through millions of documents and other resources contained in its memory, and outdo the humans in producing the correct answer, came from the Irish lab.

 

And surprisingly, the LanguageWare technology that has been honed for more than a decade by the Mulhuddart research group and is at the very cutting edge of AI, began life as a lowly spellchecker.

“It’s been a long road,” says DJ McCloskey, the head of the LanguageWare group at IBM Ireland. “That piece of technology was actually developed here in February 2001.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

MASA SWORD at ITEC 2012: Extends Interoperability with C2/C4ISR Systems, GIS, and Other Simulations for Multi-level and Joint Training Applications

At the ITEC exhibition and conference on booth #F120, MASA Group (“MASA”), a leading developer of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based Modeling & Simulation (M&S) software for the defense, public safety, emergency management, serious games and games-related markets, is unveiling the latest version of MASA SWORD, the company’s automated, aggregated constructive simulation software for efficient training and analysis. SWORD helps users develop and deploy advanced and highly realistic scenarios for the training of decision-makers in command posts and crisis centers, as well as for the analysis of military doctrines and emergency procedures.

 

Through a number of live demonstrations with GIS, C2/C4ISR systems and other simulations, ITEC visitors will see how SWORD brings unprecedented levels of interoperability. Show attendees will also see how the new version of SWORD establishes a defense-security continuum and emulates civilian-military cooperation, offering defense and public safety organizations and systems integrators a host of new features and functionalities designed to address modern training and analysis requirements within a context of reduced budgets.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Statistical Properties of Avalanches in Networks

We characterize the distributions of size and duration of avalanches propagating in complex networks. By an avalanche we mean the sequence of events initiated by the externally stimulated 'excitation' of a network node, which may, with some probability, then stimulate subsequent firings of the nodes to which it is connected, resulting in a cascade of firings. This type of process is relevant to a wide variety of situations, including neuroscience, cascading failures on electrical power grids, and epidemology. We find that the statistics of avalanches can be characterized in terms of the largest eigenvalue and corresponding eigenvector of an appropriate adjacency matrix which encodes the structure of the network. By using mean-field analyses, previous studies of avalanches in networks have not considered the effect of network structure on the distribution of size and duration of avalanches. Our results apply to individual networks (rather than network ensembles) and provide expressions for the distributions of size and duration of avalanches starting at particular nodes in the network. These findings might find application in the analysis of branching processes in networks, such as cascading power grid failures and critical brain dynamics. In particular, our results show that some experimental signatures of critical brain dynamics (i.e., power-law distributions of size and duration of neuronal avalanches), are robust to complex underlying network topologies.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

The Layer-Oriented Approach to Declarative Languages for Biological Modeling

We present a new approach to modeling languages for computational biology, which we call the layer-oriented approach. The approach stems from the observation that many diverse biological phenomena are described using a small set of mathematical formalisms (e.g. differential equations), while at the same time different domains and subdomains of computational biology require that models are structured according to the accepted terminology and classification of that domain. Our approach uses distinct semantic layers to represent the domain-specific biological concepts and the underlying mathematical formalisms. Additional functionality can be transparently added to the language by adding more layers. This approach is specifically concerned with declarative languages, and throughout the paper we note some of the limitations inherent to declarative approaches. The layer-oriented approach is a way to specify explicitly how high-level biological modeling concepts are mapped to a computational representation, while abstracting away details of particular programming languages and simulation environments. To illustrate this process, we define an example language for describing models of ionic currents, and use a general mathematical notation for semantic transformations to show how to generate model simulation code for various simulation environments. We use the example language to describe a Purkinje neuron model and demonstrate how the layer-oriented approach can be used for solving several practical issues of computational neuroscience model development. We discuss the advantages and limitations of the approach in comparison with other modeling language efforts in the domain of computational biology and outline some principles for extensible, flexible modeling language design. We conclude by describing in detail the semantic transformations defined for our language.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Emergence of a Small-World Functional Network in Cultured Neurons

The functional networks of cultured neurons exhibit complex network properties similar to those found in vivo. Starting from random seeding, cultures undergo significant reorganization during the initial period in vitro, yet despite providing an ideal platform for observing developmental changes in neuronal connectivity, little is known about how a complex functional network evolves from isolated neurons. In the present study, evolution of functional connectivity was estimated from correlations of spontaneous activity. Network properties were quantified using complex measures from graph theory and used to compare cultures at different stages of development during the first 5 weeks in vitro. Networks obtained from young cultures (14 days in vitro) exhibited a random topology, which evolved to a small-world topology during maturation. The topology change was accompanied by an increased presence of highly connected areas (hubs) and network efficiency increased with age. The small-world topology balances integration of network areas with segregation of specialized processing units. The emergence of such network structure in cultured neurons, despite a lack of external input, points to complex intrinsic biological mechanisms. Moreover, the functional network of cultures at mature ages is efficient and highly suited to complex processing tasks.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Turing’s Tiger Birthday Party

Robert Sedgewick and Jon Edwards were the co-ordinators of the just-held Princeton Turing Centennial Celebration to honor the one-hundredth birthday of Alan Turing. The three-day conference blended historical and current material, which attracted hundreds of registrants who filled Princeton University’s largest lecture hall. Their team also put together extensive webpages, including an overview that also lists the sponsors who made registration free of charge, and a page with further information on Turing and Princeton.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

The elusive capacity of networks

The elusive capacity of networks | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Recently, one of the most intriguing developments in information theory has been a different kind of coding, called network coding, in which the question is how to encode information in order to maximize the capacity of a network as a whole. For information theorists, it was natural to ask how these two types of coding might be combined: If you want to both minimize error and maximize capacity, which kind of coding do you apply where, and when do you do the decoding?

What makes that question particularly hard to answer is that no one knows how to calculate the data capacity of a network as a whole — or even whether it can be calculated. Nonetheless, in the first half of a two-part paper, which was published recently in IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, MIT's Muriel Médard, California Institute of Technology's Michelle Effros and the late Ralf Koetter of the University of Technology in Munich show that in a wired network, network coding and error-correcting coding can be handled separately, without reduction in the network's capacity. In the forthcoming second half of the paper, the same researchers demonstrate some bounds on the capacities of wireless networks, which could help guide future research in both industry and academia.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Complexity Science and Social Science at the Interface to the Real World Conference

Complexity Science and Social Science at the Interface to the Real World Conference

24th and 25th September 2012

Call for Papers and Participation

Coping with the global-scale challenges of financial instability, food security, climate change, sustainability, demographic change and migration, pervasive web technology, transnational governance and security, among others, will involve dealing with large-scale complex systems made up of many parts interacting and adapting in sometimes subtle ways. People are critically important components of all of these systems, which makes studying such systems a topic for social science as well as for natural science and engineering. However, the issues transcend disciplinary boundaries and making progress will require a significant interdisciplinary effort.

 

Much of the research that is required to address these issues is taking place at a new interface, where collaboration between economists, demographers, sociologists, etc., is supported and catalysed by tools and concepts from the physical sciences, mathematics, computer science and engineering. In the same way that research at the life and physical sciences interface has revolutionised biology and medicine since the turn of the century, research at the social sciences interface has the potential to transform our ability to answer questions about social, socio-economic, socio-ecological and socio-technological systems.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Twitter reciprocal reply networks exhibit assortativity with respect to happiness

The advent of social media has provided an extraordinary, if imperfect, 'big data' window into the form and evolution of social networks. Based on nearly 40 million message pairs posted to Twitter between September 2008 and February 2009, we construct and examine the revealed social network structure and dynamics over the time scales of days, weeks, and months. At the level of user behavior, we employ our recently developed hedonometric analysis methods to investigate patterns of sentiment expression. We find users' average happiness scores to be positively and significantly correlated with those of users one, two, and three links away. We strengthen our analysis by proposing and using a null model to test the effect of network topology on the assortativity of happiness. We also find evidence that more well connected users write happier status updates, with a transition occurring around Dunbar's number. More generally, our work provides evidence of a social sub-network structure within Twitter and raises several methodological points of interest with regard to social network reconstructions.

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Darwin’s Creepiest Experiment Brought Back to Life

Darwin’s Creepiest Experiment Brought Back to Life | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Charles Darwin liked to freak out his friends—for science. Guests visiting the famed naturalist in 1868 were shown a set of “ghoulish” photos of a guy being prodded in the face with an electrical current. Darwin then asked his guests-cum-guinea pigs to describe the emotion displayed in each photo. Was the subject happy? Sorrowful? Cheeky? Darwin hoped to determine what universal core emotions exist (if any) and what culturally modified variations branch from them. The result was Darwin’s book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Interesting, sure, but not the best science: The Victorian-era crowdsourcing experiment lacked consistent materials, a control group, and enough test subjects—he had only 24.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ashish Umre
Scoop.it!

Scientists tap the cognitive genius of tots to make computers smarter

Scientists tap the cognitive genius of tots to make computers smarter | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

People often wonder if computers make children smarter. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, are asking the reverse question: Can children make computers smarter? And the answer appears to be 'yes.'

 

UC Berkeley researchers are tapping the cognitive smarts of babies, toddlers and preschoolers to program computers to think more like humans.

If replicated in machines, the computational models based on baby brainpower could give a major boost to artificial intelligence, which historically has had difficulty handling nuances and uncertainty, researchers said

"Children are the greatest learning machines in the universe. Imagine if computers could learn as much and as quickly as they do," said Alison Gopnik a developmental psychologist at UC Berkeley and author of "The Scientist in the Crib" and "The Philosophical Baby."

more...
No comment yet.