complexity and network science
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Statistical Physics of Adaptation

All living things exhibit adaptations that enable them to survive and reproduce in the natural environment that they inhabit. From a biological standpoint, it has long been understood that adaptation comes from natural selection, whereby maladapted individuals do not pass their traits effectively to future generations. However, we may also consider the phenomenon of adaptation from the standpoint of physics, and ask whether it is possible to delineate what the difference is in terms of physical properties between something that is well-adapted to its surrounding environment, and something that is not. In this work, we undertake to address this question from a theoretical standpoint. Building on past fundamental results in far-from-equilibrium statistical mechanics, we demonstrate a generalization of the Helmholtz free energy for the finite-time stochastic evolution of driven Newtonian matter. By analyzing this expression term by term, we are able to argue for a general tendency in driven many-particle systems towards self-organization into states formed through exceptionally reliable absorption and dissipation of work energy from the surrounding environment. Subsequently, we illustrate the mechanism of this general tendency towards physical adaptation by analyzing the process of random hopping in driven energy landscapes.

 

Statistical Physics of Adaptation
Nikolai Perunov, Robert Marsland, Jeremy England

http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.1875


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Rescooped by haoxiang xia from Cooperation Theory & Practice
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The science of social connections

"I don't think it's a coincidence that of all the kinds of ways human beings could organize themselves into networks, that's what we do. We evince degree assortativity, and I don't think it's a coincidence that we do that. We assemble ourselves into groups, the group now has this property, this germ- resistance property, which is a property of the group, but which, as it turns out, also benefits and affects us. Now, being a member of that group, we are less likely to acquire pathogens.

And this sets the stage for a set of ideas that we and others have been exploring that shed light on multi-level selection and other kinds of contentious ideas in the biological and the social sciences. And we have a number of fellow travelers on this road—László Barabási, Dirk Helbing, Tooby and Cosmides, Frans de Waal, Nowak, Rand, Santos—people working on these related areas of interactions among animals and people, and what this means. In fact, David Rand and Josh Green and Martin Nowak just had a nice paper this past year — I was asked to highlight some papers—looking at whether you can use time to response as a kind of heuristic for understanding are people intuitive cooperators and rationally selfish, or do they exercise rational self-control over a kind of instinctive greed? The data they presented in that paper, to my eyes, was quite compelling—that we are intuitively wired to cooperate."


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Howard Rheingold's curator insight, December 9, 2013 5:01 PM

Understanding the emergence of human culture requires an understanding of how social information and ideas spread through social networks -- and so does understanding the emergence and nature of human cooperation

luiy's curator insight, January 6, 2014 5:45 AM

We can shift our perspective on lots of things when we think about people as being nodes on a graph, as being connected to other people. And this shift in focus might, in fact, prompt us to begin to think about —not the individuals themselves‑but the ties between them. This calls to mind an analogy, which I don't know if some of you may already know, of streets in the United States and in European countries. So, streets have names in our country, and the houses on the streets are numbered numerically and linearly as you move along the street. And the blocks between the streets don't have names or numbers and are seen as the things that are between the streets, and we don't pay much attention to them. But if you go to Japan, it's the blocks that are numbered. The blocks have names and the houses on the blocks are numbered in the order in which they were built, not numerically or linearly in any kind of systematic way. If you ask the Japanese, "What's going on with the streets?" they say, "The streets are the spaces between the blocks." They don't pay attention to those.

Geoff Findley's curator insight, January 7, 2014 1:04 AM

Social Bonds

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Modeling Social Dynamics in a Collaborative Environment

Wikipedia is a prime example of today's value production in a collaborative environment. Using this example, we model the emergence, persistence and resolution of severe conflicts during collaboration by coupling opinion formation with article editing in a bounded confidence dynamics. The complex social behavior involved in editing articles is implemented as a minimal model with two basic elements; (i) individuals interact directly to share information and convince each other, and (ii) they edit a common medium to establish their own opinions. Opinions of the editors and that represented by the article are characterised by a scalar variable. When the pool of editors is fixed, three regimes can be distinguished: (a) a stable mainstream article opinion is continuously contested by editors with extremist views and there is slow convergence towards consensus, (b) the article oscillates between editors with extremist views, reaching consensus relatively fast at one of the extremes, and (c) the extremist editors are converted very fast to the mainstream opinion and the article has an erratic evolution. When editors are renewed with a certain rate, a dynamical transition occurs between different kinds of edit wars, which qualitatively reflect the dynamics of conflicts as observed in real Wikipedia data.


Modeling Social Dynamics in a Collaborative Environment

Gerardo Iñiguez, János Török, Taha Yasseri, Kimmo Kaski, János Kertész

http://arxiv.org/abs/1403.3568


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Social Networking in the 1600s

Social Networking in the 1600s | complexity and network science | Scoop.it

SOCIAL networks stand accused of being enemies of productivity. According to one popular (if questionable) infographiccirculating online, the use of Facebook, Twitter and other such sites at work costs the American economy $650 billion each year. Our attention spans are atrophying, our test scores declining, all because of these “weapons of mass distraction.”

 

Yet such worries have arisen before. In England in the late 1600s, very similar concerns were expressed about another new media-sharing environment, the allure of which seemed to be undermining young people’s ability to concentrate on their studies or their work: the coffeehouse. It was the social-networking site of its day.

 

Like coffee itself, coffeehouses were an import from the Arab world. England’s first coffeehouse opened in Oxford in the early 1650s, and hundreds of similar establishments sprang up in London and other cities in the following years. People went to coffeehouses not just to drink coffee, but to read and discuss the latest pamphlets and news-sheets and to catch up on rumor and gossip.

 

Coffeehouses were also used as post offices. Patrons would visit their favorite coffeehouses several times a day to check for new mail, catch up on the news and talk to other coffee drinkers, both friends and strangers. Some coffeehouses specialized in discussion of particular topics, like science, politics, literature or shipping. As customers moved from one to the other, information circulated with them.


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Luciano Lampi's curator insight, June 27, 2013 8:11 AM
Living in the Past

 

Jethro Tull