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Social Foraging
Dynamics of Social Interaction
Curated by Ashish Umre
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Algorithms Replace Spinal Cord In New Approach to Neural Prosthetics

Algorithms Replace Spinal Cord In New Approach to Neural Prosthetics | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Over years of eavesdropping on the brain with with electrodes, neuroscientists and engineers have decoded the neural patterns of intention in both humans and monkeys. Since then, most labs have plugged these diverted signals into robotic arms, proving that they can use the brain to remotely control sophisticated machinery while undoubtedly giving tremendous hope to people with severed limbs.
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How Creativity Connects with Immorality

How Creativity Connects with Immorality | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Are creative types more likely to cross moral boundaries?

 

In the mid 1990’s, Apple Computers was a dying company. Microsoft’s Windows operating system was overwhelmingly favored by consumers, and Apple’s attempts to win back market share by improving the Macintosh operating system were unsuccessful. After several years of debilitating financial losses, the company chose to purchase a fledgling software company called NeXT. Along with purchasing the rights to NeXT’s software, this move allowed Apple to regain the services of one of the company’s founders, the late Steve Jobs. Under the guidance of Jobs, Apple returned to profitability and is now the largest technology company in the world, with the creativity of Steve Jobs receiving much of the credit.

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Why It's Healthy To Be Social

Why It's Healthy To Be Social | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
One advantage of belonging to a cohesive society in which people help each other is that the group is often better equipped than a set of individuals to deal with threats from the outside.

 

People intuitively realize there is strength in numbers, and take comfort in the company of others, especially in times of anxiety or need. Or, as Patrick Henry famously said, “United we stand, divided we fall.” (Ironically, Henry collapsed and fell into the arms of bystanders shortly after uttering the phrase.)

 

It’s all good and well that we can unite against an external foe, but what is perhaps more interesting is a result put forth by a slew of recent studies: people who are a part of a group are also far better equipped to conquer an internal foe—the threat of bad health.
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Deploying a massively scalable recommender system with Apache Mahout

The purpose of this post is to explain how to use Apache Mahout to deploy a massively scalable, high throughput recommender system for a certain class of usecases.

 

I’ll describe the shape of usecases covered and give a step-by-step guide to setting up such a recommender system. Be aware that this is a guide intended for readers already familiar with Collaborative Filtering and recommender systems that are evaluating Mahout as a choice for building their production systems on. The focus is on making the right engineering decisions rather than on explaining algorithms here.

 

If you only want to learn about recommendation mining and try out Mahout, having a look at Mahout in Action might be a more suitable starting point.

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The humanisation of computing: A Copernican moment for tech

The humanisation of computing: A Copernican moment for tech | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
When Nicolaus Copernicus established that the earth moves around the sun he transformed our understanding of the solar system.

 

The rise in digital devices such as PCs, laptops and smartphones, that we use to access personal and corporate information on a daily basis is having a similar impact on our expectations of computing, and has revolutionised the way we live our lives.

We are now at a stage when IT is beginning to blend into the background and technology is everywhere.

Mobile devices, ubiquitous network communications, rich applications and social software are all beginning to form a natural and invisible backdrop to our lives, and enabling us to re-imagine computing so that we can capitalise on the changing way that people are consuming IT services.

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Sports Data helps Shed Light on Southpaws

Sports Data helps Shed Light on Southpaws | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Lefties have always been a bit of a puzzle. Representing only 10 percent of the general human population, left-handers have been viewed with suspicion and persecuted across history. The word “sinister” even derives from “left or left-hand.”Two Northwestern University researchers now report that a high degree of cooperation, not something odd or sinister, plays a key role in the rarity of left-handedness. They developed a mathematical model that shows the low percentage of lefties is a result of the balance between cooperation and competition in human evolution.

 

Professor Daniel M. Abrams and his graduate student Mark J. Panaggio — both right-handers — are the first to use real-world data from competitive sports to test and confirm the hypothesis that social behavior is related to population-level handedness.

The results are published April 25, 2012, in The Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
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Patterns of cooperation: fairness and coordination in networks of interacting agents

We study the self-assembly of a complex network of collaborations among self-interested agents. The agents can maintain different levels of cooperation with different partners. Further, they continuously, selectively, and independently adapt the amount of resources allocated to each of their collaborations in order to maximize the obtained payoff. We show analytically that the system approaches a state in which the agents make identical investments, and links produce identical benefits. Despite this high degree of social coordination some agents manage to secure privileged topological positions in the network enabling them to extract high payoffs. Our analytical investigations provide a rationale for the emergence of unidirectional non-reciprocal collaborations and different responses to the withdrawal of a partner from an interaction that have been reported in the psychological literature.

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GraphLab Workshop - Workshop on Big Learning - Monday, July 9, 2012 San Francisco, CA

The GraphLab workshop on large scale machine learning is a meeting place for both academia and industry to discuss upcoming challenges of large scale machine learning and solution methods. GraphLab is Carnegie Mellon’s large scale machine learning framework. The workshop will include demos and tutorials showcasing the next generation of the GraphLab framework, as well as lectures and demos from the top technology companies about their applied large scale machine learning solutions.

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Selenium impacts honey bee behavior and survival

Selenium impacts honey bee behavior and survival | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
(Phys.org) -- Entomologists at the University of California, Riverside have a “proof of concept” that selenium, a nonmetal chemical element, can disrupt the foraging behavior and survival of honey bees.

 

Selenium in very low concentrations is necessary for the normal development of insects — and humans — but becomes toxic at only slightly higher concentrations when it replaces sulfur in amino acids. In soils, particularly in Pacific Rim countries and near coal-fired power plants worldwide, it occurs most often in soluble forms, such as selenate.

 

Wondering what effect selenium concentrations in plants has on honey bees, John T. Trumble, a professor of entomology, and Kristen R. Hladun, his graduate student, performed controlled greenhouse experiments in which they documented the selenium amounts that three plant species — two kinds of mustards and one weedy radish plant — incorporate into their nectar and pollen after the plants had been irrigated with low to moderate levels of the trace mineral.

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U.S. Military Robots Of The Future: Visual Tour

U.S. Military Robots Of The Future: Visual Tour | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Meet robots that fight fires, climb ladders, search for bombs, and race across the battlefield. The technological singularity is near, say military strategists.
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2012 - HUMANOBS Summer School - Humanoids That Learn Socio-Communicative Skills by Observation (Artificial General Intelligence & Constructivist A.I.)

This summer school focuses on issues related to the original goal of artificial general intelligence, namely that of building machines capable of operating in a range of different environments and domains, and doing a range of unrelated tasks in a coordinated manner, with a special focus on architectural and integrative issues. What some have called “general AI”.

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Computational adaptive optics for real-time in-vivo applications

Real-time, 3-D microscopic tissue imaging could be a revolution for medical fields such as cancer diagnosis, minimally invasive surgery and ophthalmology. University of Illinois researchers have developed a technique to computationally correct for aberrations in optical tomography, bringing the future of medical imaging into focus.

 

The computational technique could provide faster, less expensive and higher resolution tissue imaging to a broader population of users. The group describes its technique this week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Computational techniques allow you to go beyond what the optical system can do alone, to ultimately get the best quality images and three-dimensional datasets," said Steven Adie, a postdoctoral researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the U. of I. "This would be very useful for real-time imaging applications such as image-guided surgery."

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Signalling and the Evolution of Cooperative Foraging in Dynamic Environments

Understanding cooperation in animal social groups remains a significant challenge for evolutionary theory. Observed behaviours that benefit others but incur some cost appear incompatible with classical notions of natural selection; however, these behaviours may be explained by concepts such as inclusive fitness, reciprocity, intra-specific mutualism or manipulation. In this work, we examine a seemingly altruistic behaviour, the active recruitment of conspecifics to a food resource through signalling. Here collective, cooperative behaviour may provide highly nonlinear benefits to individuals, since group functionality has the potential to be far greater than the sum of the component parts, for example by enabling the effective tracking of a dynamic resource. We show that due to this effect, signalling to others is an evolutionarily stable strategy under certain environmental conditions, even when there is a cost associated to this behaviour. While exploitation is possible, in the limiting case of a sparse, ephemeral but locally abundant nutrient source, a given environmental profile will support a fixed number of signalling individuals. Through a quantitative analysis, this effective carrying capacity for cooperation is related to the characteristic length and time scales of the resource field.
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6th Workshop on Theory of Randomized Search Heuristics Workshop (ThRaSH'2012)

The 6th workshop on Theory of Randomized Search Heuristics is going to be held on May 2 and May 3, 2012. The conference venue of Polytech'Lille is located in Villeneuve d'Ascq in the north of France and which can be reached from downtown Lille by a 13 minutes long automated metro ride.

 

Randomized search heuristics such as evolutionary algorithms, ant colony optimization, or simulated annealing are successfully used in various applications, both in combinatorial and numerical optimization. In contrast to problem-specific randomized algorithms, they are designed to be general black-box optimizers.

Given such a scenario, proving that such algorithms satisfy certain performance guarantees remains a hard and widely open problem. Gaining a theoretical understanding of randomized search heuristics is therefore an important task. Since these search heuristics are first and foremost optimization algorithms with stochastic elements, there is a clear potential in applying techniques developed in other research areas such as probability theory or "classical" optimization (such as problem-specific algorithms and numerical optimization) to analyze randomized search heuristics.

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The Puzzling Role Of Biophotons In The Brain

The Puzzling Role Of Biophotons In The Brain | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

In recent years, a growing body of evidence shows that photons play an important role in the basic functioning of cells. Most of this evidence comes from turning the lights off and counting the number of photons that cells produce. It turns out, much to many people's surprise, that many cells, perhaps even most, emit light as they work.

 

In fact, it looks very much as if many cells use light to communicate. There's certainly evidence that bacteria, plants and even kidney cells communicate in this way. Various groups have even shown that rats brains are literally alight thanks to the photons produced by neurons as they work.

 

And that raises an interesting question: what role does light play in the work of neurons? The fact that neurons emit light does not mean that they can receive it or process it.

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Eco-evolutionary dynamics of dispersal in spatially heterogeneous environments

Eco-evolutionary dynamics of dispersal in spatially heterogeneous environments | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Evolutionary changes in natural populations are often so fast that the evolutionary dynamics may influence ecological population dynamics and vice versa. Here we construct an eco-evolutionary model for dispersal by combining a stochastic patch occupancy metapopulation model with a model for changes in the frequency of fast-dispersing individuals in local populations. We test the model using data on allelic variation in the gene phosphoglucose isomerase (Pgi), which is strongly associated with dispersal rate in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Population-specific measures of immigration and extinction rates and the frequency of fast-dispersing individuals among the immigrants explained 40% of spatial variation in Pgi allele frequency among 97 local populations. The model clarifies the roles of founder events and gene flow in dispersal evolution and resolves a controversy in the literature about the consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation on the evolution of dispersal.

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How's This for Complexity? The Social TV Ecosystem

How's This for Complexity? The Social TV Ecosystem | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
I attended and spoke at various Social TV-oriented conferences in the past few weeks, such as the Future of Media Conference at Stanford and TV Next in Boston. One thing is very clear: the Social TV ecosystem is both increasingly complex and fast moving. Every time I attend a conference, I run into yet more new companies, more entrepreneurs with more creative ideas and more investors looking for the next big thing. That’s exciting – it’s a sign that a brand new market is on the verge of taking off. Reminds me of the early days of the Internet in the mid-90’s.
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A model balancing cooperation and competition can explain our right-handed world and the dominance of left-handed athletes

An overwhelming majority of humans are right-handed. Numerous explanations for individual handedness have been proposed, but this population-level handedness remains puzzling. Here, we present a novel mathematical model and use it to test the idea that population-level hand preference represents a balance between selective costs and benefits arising from cooperation and competition in human evolutionary history. We use the selection of elite athletes as a test-bed for our evolutionary model and find evidence for the validity of this idea. Our model gives the first quantitative explanation for the distribution of handedness both across and within many professional sports. It also predicts strong lateralization of hand use in social species with limited combative interaction, and elucidates the absence of consistent population-level ‘pawedness’ in some animal species.

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'Self-repair' mechanism may help identify and fix head and facial defects

Researchers have discovered a "self-correcting" mechanism by which developing organisms recognize and repair abnormalities in the head and face.This is the first time that such a mechanism has been reported for the face and the first time that this kind of flexible, corrective process has been rigorously analysed through mathematical modelling.

 

The research by developmental biologists at Tufts University used a tadpole model to show that developing organisms are not genetically "hard-wired" with a set of pre-determined cell movements that result in normal facial features.

 

Instead, the process of development is more adaptive and robust. Cell groups are able to measure their shape and position relative to other organs and perform the movements and remodelling needed to compensate for significant patterning abnormalities, the study showed.

 

"A big question has always been, how do complex shapes like the face or the whole embryo put themselves together? We have found that when we created defects in the face experimentally, facial structures move around in various ways and mostly end up in their correct positions," said Michael Levin, Ph.D., senior author on the paper and director of the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology in Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences.

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What is a data scientist? It's the job of the moment. But what exactly is a data scientist?

What is a data scientist? It's the job of the moment. But what exactly is a data scientist? | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Everybody loves a data scientist: ever since Google's Hal Varian told the world that...

 

"the sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians. People think I'm joking, but who would've guessed that computer engineers would've been the sexy job of the 1990s?"

 

That, combined with the McKinsey report into big data last year is a powerful blend. The report reckoned the US alone would need 190,000 deep analytical 'data scientists' - and another 1.5m data-savvy managers to make the big decisions.
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Predicted: In 15 Years, 90% of News Stories Will Be Written by Algorithms

Predicted: In 15 Years, 90% of News Stories Will Be Written by Algorithms | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
We've already begun to see a trickle of computer-authored journalism. Prepare yourself for the flood: In 15 years time, more than 90 percent of news will be written by an algorithm, predicts Kristian Hammond, the CTO and cofounder of Narrative Science, according to a fascinating new profile of the company by Steven Levy in Wired (definitely recommended-reading in full).

What about the jobs? Those poor, wretched journalists who will be thrown out on the street to fend for themselves among the remains of other 20th-century industries? What will become of them?

 

But it's not a zero-sum game in which one robot-produced story shoves a work of the human brain out the door. Rather, the "universe" of news stories is expanding, and the algorithms of Narrative Science are there to meet the latent demand for news too costly for humans to craft.

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Learn to program AI, or face the consequences, says expert

Learn to program AI, or face the consequences, says expert | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
A future dominated by artificial intelligence is quickly approaching. But according to Lars Hård, CTO of A.I. software company ExpertMaker, the time is now for the masses to master A.I. development in order to avoid a future controlled by savvy corporations.

 

You’ve heard it before: In the future, machines will rule us all. To some extent, they already do. We are increasingly tied to our gadgets and gizmos. They answer our questions, provide entertainment, and connect us with one another. But as technology advances, these machines will become staggeringly intelligent. Not long from now, teaching machines artificial intelligence, or how to learn on their own, will become as important as learning how to program is today.

 

For some, a future run by artificial intelligence is a terrifying one — we’ve all seen Terminator, after all. But according to at least one A.I. expert, it’s not the machines we have to worry about. It’s the people who build them.
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Psychologists Use Social Networking Behavior to Predict Personality Type

Psychologists Use Social Networking Behavior to Predict Personality Type | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
The ability to automatically determine personality type could change the way social networks target services to users...

 

One of the foundations of modern psychology is that human personality can be described in terms of five different forms of behavior. These are:

 

1. Agreeableness--being helpful, cooperative and sympathetic towards others
2. Conscientiousness--being disciplined, organized and achievement-oriented
3. Extraversion--having a higher degree of sociability, assertiveness and talkativeness
4. Neuroticism--the degree of emotional stability, impulse control and anxiety
5. Openness--having a strong intellectual curiosity and a preference for novelty and variety

Psychologists have spent much time and many years developing tests that can classify people according to these criteria.

 

Today, Shuotian Bai at the Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and a couple of buddies say they have developed an online version of the test that can determine an individual's personality traits from their behavior on a social network such as Facebook or Renren, an increasingly popular Chinese competitor.

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Center Based Ant Colony Algorithm and Approach on Traffic Routing

Ministry of science and technology founded nation focus research project (973): on requirement engineering–Basic Research on Software Engineering for Complex Systems. It takes the traffic domain as the vector of the research, to the public; the most important things are travel and the traffic information about this. An important problem worth being paid more attention is traffic routing. Using the ant colony algorithm to solve these problems is an aspect of the research nowadays.Ant colony algorithm is a new algorithm that was used to solve traveling salesmen problem from its born. It has many adventures such as simple structure, easy-to-achieve, positive feedback, the nature of parallelism and so on. The research about it has been continued deep and mature. If the traffic routing problem can be solved perfectly, the project would be improved in some distance. We will improve the basic algorithm and introduce the improved algorithm into the project, with the hope that it will offer a solution on traffic routing.In this paper, we have introduced its background and meaning, talked about its research situation, described the basic ant colony algorithm, and then achieved an improved algorithm: center based ant colony algorithm. The detail contents as follows:(1) Introducing the principles of the basic ant colony algorithm, making a mathematics model with the traveling salesmen problem, obtaining the realization steps, analyzing the complexity from time complexity and space complexity, proving its convergence.(2) Making some improvements on the basic ant colony algorithm, getting the center based ant colony algorithm, making a mathematics model with the traveling salesmen problem, obtaining the realization steps, analyzing the complexity of the improved algorithm, proving its convergence.(3) Doing simulation experiments on the two algorithms at the same situation by the TSP data on the TSPLIB net, and making some contrast analysis on the results, proving the adventures of the center based ant colony algorithm.(4) Making a mathematics model with the traffic routing problem, designing the steps of solving the traffic routing problem. Approach the center basic ant colony algorithm on the traffic routing problem.(5) Founding a simple traffic routing system with real traffic data, as a kind of service, it can meet the need of the traffic routing problem.At the end of this paper, we make a summary in four aspects, and make some prospects about the future work.

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Brain Seeks the Voice among Many Speakers

It’s tough to pick a familiar face out of a crowd—but focusing on a known voice in a noisy room is easy. And a new study scanned volunteers’ brains to look at how we solve the so-called cocktail party problem. The work is in the journal Nature. [Nima Mesgarani and Edward F. Chang, "Selective cortical representation of attended speaker in multi-talker speech perception"]

 

Researchers recorded the activity of the subject’s cerebral cortexes while playing them sentences spoken by different voices. First, the subjects listened to individual sentences and reported key features of each one. Then, they heard two different sentences played at the same time, but had to listen to and recall details from only one voice.

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