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Uncovering the structure and temporal dynamics of information propagation

Time plays an essential role in the diffusion of information, influence, and disease over networks. In many cases we can only observe when a node is activated by a contagion—when a node learns about a piece of information, makes a decision, adopts a new behavior, or becomes infected with a disease. However, the underlying network connectivity and transmission rates between nodes are unknown. Inferring the underlying diffusion dynamics is important because it leads to new insights and enables forecasting, as well as influencing or containing information propagation. In this paper we model diffusion as a continuous temporal process occurring at different rates over a latent, unobserved network that may change over time. Given information diffusion data, we infer the edges and dynamics of the underlying network. Our model naturally imposes sparse solutions and requires no parameter tuning. We develop an efficient inference algorithm that uses stochastic convex optimization to compute online estimates of the edges and transmission rates. We evaluate our method by tracking information diffusion among 3.3 million mainstream media sites and blogs, and experiment with more than 179 million different instances of information spreading over the network in a one-year period. We apply our network inference algorithm to the top 5,000 media sites and blogs and report several interesting observations. First, information pathways for general recurrent topics are more stable across time than for on-going news events. Second, clusters of news media sites and blogs often emerge and vanish in a matter of days for on-going news events. Finally, major events, for example, large scale civil unrest as in the Libyan civil war or Syrian uprising, increase the number of information pathways among blogs, and also increase the network centrality of blogs and social media sites.


Uncovering the structure and temporal dynamics of information propagation
MANUEL GOMEZ RODRIGUEZ, JURE LESKOVEC, DAVID BALDUZZI, BERNHARD SCHÖLKOPF
Network Science , Volume 2 , Issue 01 , April 2014, pp 26 - 65
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/nws.2014.3 

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The clock of chemical evolution

Chemical evolution is essential in understanding the origins of life. We present a theory for the evolution of molecule masses and show that small molecules grow by random diffusion and large molecules by a preferential attachment process leading eventually to life's molecules. It reproduces correctly the distribution of molecules found via mass spectroscopy for the Murchison meteorite and estimates the start of chemical evolution back to 12.8 billion years following the birth of stars and supernovae. From the Frontier mass between the random and preferential attachment dynamics the birth time of molecule families can be estimated. Amino acids emerge about 165 million years after the start of evolution. Using the scaling of reaction rates with the distance of the molecules in space we recover correctly the few days emergence time of amino acids in the Miller-Urey experiment. The distribution of interstellar and extragalactic molecules are both consistent with the evolutionary mass distribution, and their age is estimated to 108 and 65 million years after the start of evolution. From the model, we can determine the number of different molecule compositions at the time of the creation of Earth to be 1.6 million and the number of molecule compositions in interstellar space to a mere 719.


The clock of chemical evolution
Stuart A. Kauffman, David P. Jelenfi, Gabor Vattay

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Misinformation and biases infect social media, both intentionally and accidentally

Social media are among the primary sources of news in the U.S. and across the world. Yet users are exposed to content of questionable accuracy, including conspiracy theories, clickbait, hyperpartisan content, pseudo science and even fabricated “fake news” reports.

It’s not surprising that there’s so much disinformation published: Spam and online fraud are lucrative for criminals, and government and political propaganda yield both partisan and financial benefits. But the fact that low-credibility content spreads so quickly and easily suggests that people and the algorithms behind social media platforms are vulnerable to manipulation.

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Universal migration predicts human movements under climate change

Universal migration predicts human movements under climate change | Papers | Scoop.it
Climate change is expected to displace millions of people through impacts like sea level rise, crop failures, and more frequent extreme weather. Yet scientists still cannot predict where these expected climate-induced migrants are likely to go in the coming decades. A new study, published today in Environmental Research Letters, seeks to address this nee

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Is America Ready for a Global Pandemic?

Is America Ready for a Global Pandemic? | Papers | Scoop.it
The epidemics of the early 21st century revealed a world unprepared, even as the risks continue to multiply. Much worse is coming.
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Multidisciplinary Complex Systems Research: Report from an NSF Workshop (...)

The workshop was motivated by the observation that many processes in natural, engineered, and social contexts exhibit emergent collective behavior and are thus governed by complex systems. Because challenges in understanding, predicting, designing, and controlling complex systems are often common to many domains, a central objective of the workshop was to facilitate the exchange of ideas across different fields and circumvent disciplinary boundaries typical of many traditional scientific meetings. The workshop participants included experts in both theory and applications, as well as a selection of postdoctoral researchers and graduate students from various domains. Because of the cross-disciplinary nature of the workshop, the participants themselves had the opportunity to become aware of the latest developments in fields related to, but different from, their own. The inclusion of early-career researchers will help promote the transfer of this expertise to The environment fostered discussions on the state of the art, potential issues, and most promising directions in multidisciplinary complex systems research.
This report includes outcomes of the workshop that can help inform the scientific community at large of the current status and challenges as well as future opportunities in multidisciplinary complex systems research as perceived by the participants of the workshop.

 

Multidisciplinary Complex Systems Research: Report from an NSF Workshop in May 2017,
Released May 2018, K.A. Gray and A.E. Motter (co-chairs).

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Resilience analytics: coverage and robustness in multi-modal transportation networks

A multi-modal transportation system of a city can be modeled as a multiplex network with different layers corresponding to different transportation modes. These layers include, but are not limited to, bus network, metro network, and road network. Formally, a multiplex network is a multilayer graph in which the same set of nodes are connected by different types of relationships. Intra-layer relationships denote the road segments connecting stations of the same transportation mode, whereas inter-layer relationships represent connections between different transportation modes within the same station. Given a multi-modal transportation system of a city, we are interested in assessing its quality or efficiency by estimating the coverage i.e., a portion of the city that can be covered by a random walker who navigates through it within a given time budget, or steps. We are also interested in the robustness of the whole transportation system which denotes the degree to which the system is able to withstand a random or targeted failure affecting one or more parts of it. Previous approaches proposed a mathematical framework to numerically compute the coverage in multiplex networks. However solutions are usually based on eigenvalue decomposition, known to be time consuming and hard to obtain in the case of large systems. In this work, we propose MUME, an efficient algorithm for Multi-modal Urban Mobility Estimation, that takes advantage of the special structure of the supra-Laplacian matrix of the transportation multiplex, to compute the coverage of the system. We conduct a comprehensive series of experiments to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of MUME on both synthetic and real transportation networks of various cities such as Paris, London, New York and Chicago. A future goal is to use this experience to make projections for a fast growing city like Doha.

 

Resilience analytics: coverage and robustness in multi-modal transportation networks

Abdelkader Baggag, Sofiane Abbar, Tahar Zanouda and Jaideep Srivastava
EPJ Data Science 2018 7:14
https://doi.org/10.1140/epjds/s13688-018-0139-7

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Niche emergence as an autocatalytic process in the evolution of ecosystems

Niche emergence as an autocatalytic process in the evolution of ecosystems | Papers | Scoop.it

The utilisation of the ecospace and the change in diversity through time has been suggested to be due to the effect of niche partitioning, as a global long-term pattern in the fossil record. However, niche partitioning, as a way to coexist, could be a limited means to share the environmental resources and condition during evolutionary time. In fact, a physical limit impedes a high partitioning without a high restriction of the niche's variables. Here, we propose that niche emergence, rather than niche partitioning, is what mostly drives ecological diversity. In particular, we view ecosystems in terms of autocatalytic sets: catalytically closed and self-sustaining reaction (or interaction) networks. We provide some examples of such ecological autocatalytic networks, how this can give rise to an expanding process of niche emergence (both in time and space), and how these networks have evolved over time (so-called evoRAFs). Furthermore, we use the autocatalytic set formalism to show that it can be expected to observe a power-law in the size distribution of extinction events in ecosystems. In short, we elaborate on our earlier argument that new species create new niches, and that biodiversity is therefore an autocatalytic process.

 

Niche emergence as an autocatalytic process in the evolution of ecosystems

Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, Brian Fath, Wim Hordijk, Stuart Kauffman, Robert Ulanowicz

Journal of Theoretical Biology

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The biology of consciousness from the bottom up

This essay aims to outline a scientific approach to the investigation of consciousness emphasizing achievements and promise of hardcore bottom-up biology. We propose to contemplate what would be the minimal requirements of consciousness in the simplest of life forms. We show that, starting from the molecular nuts and bolts of such life forms, it is the extreme multitudinousness of the moving material components forming consciousness, and their organized swarming, that appears outstanding. This is in stark contrast with the impression obtained from introspection that consciousness is a single, unconstrained, immaterial stream.

 

The biology of consciousness from the bottom up
Claude MJ Braun, Shaun Lovejoy

Adaptive Behavior

Vol 26, Issue 3, 2018

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The Relevance of Informational Infrastructures in Future Cities

The Relevance of Informational Infrastructures in Future Cities | Papers | Scoop.it

Cities around the world are installing digital architectures of sensors, computational cores and telecommunications in the urban fabric, transforming existing infrastructure systems into multi-functional informational and services platforms in the process. The fast pace of digitization is often hard for cities to fathom, many of which are challenged by a silent privatization of the informational value of public spaces and the under-development of the potential of 21st century digital infrastructures due to a mono functional non-inclusive process of design. This is compounded by the power behind large-scale data ecosystems, which when paired with technologies such as machine learning will have profound impact over our future urban services and lifestyles. Cities need to adapt their design mentality and institutional models, but it is through social participation, and open technology standards that true inclusive synthesis of the future digital systems that enable our interactions with cities and allow for the myriad of new services and experiences can be achieved.

 

The Relevance of Informational Infrastructures in Future Cities
Ricardo Alvarez

The Journal of Field Actions

Special Issue 17 | 2017 : Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in the City

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Addressing the minimum fleet problem in on-demand urban mobility

Addressing the minimum fleet problem in on-demand urban mobility | Papers | Scoop.it

Information and communication technologies have opened the way to new solutions for urban mobility that provide better ways to match individuals with on-demand vehicles. However, a fundamental unsolved problem is how best to size and operate a fleet of vehicles, given a certain demand for personal mobility. Previous studies1,2,3,4,5 either do not provide a scalable solution or require changes in human attitudes towards mobility. Here we provide a network-based solution to the following ‘minimum fleet problem’, given a collection of trips (specified by origin, destination and start time), of how to determine the minimum number of vehicles needed to serve all the trips without incurring any delay to the passengers. By introducing the notion of a ‘vehicle-sharing network’, we present an optimal computationally efficient solution to the problem, as well as a nearly optimal solution amenable to real-time implementation. We test both solutions on a dataset of 150 million taxi trips taken in the city of New York over one year6. The real-time implementation of the method with near-optimal service levels allows a 30 per cent reduction in fleet size compared to current taxi operation. Although constraints on driver availability and the existence of abnormal trip demands may lead to a relatively larger optimal value for the fleet size than that predicted here, the fleet size remains robust for a wide range of variations in historical trip demand. These predicted reductions in fleet size follow directly from a reorganization of taxi dispatching that could be implemented with a simple urban app; they do not assume ride sharing7,8,9, nor require changes to regulations, business models, or human attitudes towards mobility to become effective. Our results could become even more relevant in the years ahead as fleets of networked, self-driving cars become commonplace10,11,12,13,14.

 

Addressing the minimum fleet problem in on-demand urban mobility
M. M. Vazifeh, P. Santi, G. Resta, S. H. Strogatz & C. Ratti
Nature volume 557, pages 534–538 (2018)
doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0095-1

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Cooperative Object Transport in Multi-Robot Systems: A Review of the State-of-the-Art

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in designing multi-robot systems (hereafter MRSs) to provide cost effective, fault-tolerant and reliable solutions to a variety of automated applications. Here, we review recent advancements in MRSs specifically designed for cooperative object transport, which requires the members of MRSs to coordinate their actions to transport objects from a starting position to a final destination. To achieve cooperative object transport, a wide range of transport, coordination and control strategies have been proposed. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive summary for this relatively heterogeneous and fast-growing body of scientific literature. While distilling the information, we purposefully avoid using hierarchical dichotomies, which have been traditionally used in the field of MRSs. Instead, we employ a coarse-grain approach by classifying each study based on the transport strategy used; pushing-only, grasping and caging. We identify key design constraints that may be shared among these studies despite considerable differences in their design methods. In the end, we discuss several open challenges and possible directions for future work to improve the performance of the current MRSs. Overall, we hope to increasethe visibility and accessibility of the excellent studies in the field and provide a framework that helps the reader to navigate through them more effectively.

 

 

Cooperative Object Transport in Multi-Robot Systems: A Review of the State-of-the-Art

Elio Tuci, Muhanad H. M. Alkilabi and Otar Akanyeti

Front. Robot. AI, 25 May 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2018.00059

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When Robots Get Bored and Invent Team Sports: A More Suitable Test than the Turing Test?

Increasingly, the Turing test—which is used to show that artificial intelligence has achieved human-level intelligence—is being regarded as an insufficient indicator of human-level intelligence. This essay extends arguments that embodied intelligence is required for human-level intelligence, and proposes a more suitable test for determining human-level intelligence: the invention of team sports by humanoid robots. The test is preferred because team sport activity is easily identified, uniquely human, and is suggested to emerge in basic, controllable conditions. To expect humanoid robots to self-organize, or invent, team sport as a function of human-level artificial intelligence, the following necessary conditions are proposed: humanoid robots must have the capacity to participate in cooperative-competitive interactions, instilled by algorithms for resource acquisition; they must possess or acquire sufficient stores of energetic resources that permit leisure time, thus reducing competition for scarce resources and increasing cooperative tendencies; and they must possess a heterogeneous range of energetic capacities. When present, these factors allow robot collectives to spontaneously invent team sport activities and thereby demonstrate one fundamental indicator of human-level intelligence.

 

When Robots Get Bored and Invent Team Sports: A More Suitable Test than the Turing Test?
Hugh Trenchard

Information 2018, 9(5), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/info9050118

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How Many Genes Do Cells Need? Maybe Almost All of Them

How Many Genes Do Cells Need? Maybe Almost All of Them | Papers | Scoop.it
An ambitious study in yeast shows that the health of cells depends on the highly intertwined effects of many genes, few of which can be deleted together without consequence.
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Predicting perturbation patterns from the topology of biological networks

High-throughput technologies, offering unprecedented wealth of quantitative data underlying the makeup of living systems, are changing biology. Notably, the systematic mapping of the relationships between biochemical entities has fueled the rapid development of network biology, offering a suitable framework to describe disease phenotypes and predict potential drug targets. Yet, our ability to develop accurate dynamical models remains limited, due in part to the limited knowledge of the kinetic parameters underlying these interactions. Here, we explore the degree to which we can make reasonably accurate predictions in the absence of the kinetic parameters. We find that simple dynamically agnostic models are sufficient to recover the strength and sign of the biochemical perturbation patterns observed in 87 biological models for which the underlying kinetics is known. Surprisingly, a simple distance-based model achieves 65% accuracy. We show that this predictive power is robust to topological and kinetic parameters perturbations, and we identify key network properties that can increase up to 80% the recovery rate of the true perturbation patterns. We validate our approach using experimental data on the chemotactic pathway in bacteria, finding that a network model of perturbation spreading predicts with ~80% accuracy the directionality of gene expression and phenotype changes in knock-out and overproduction experiments. These findings show that the steady advances in mapping out the topology of biochemical interaction networks opens avenues for accurate perturbation spread modeling, with direct implications for medicine and drug development.

 

Predicting perturbation patterns from the topology of biological networks

Marc Santolini, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/349324

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Quantifying the ecological diversity and health of online news

Even in developed countries with an active free press, news coverage can be dominated by only a few players. This can lead to a reduction of topical and community diversity. Ownership structures might further limit coverage by implicitly or explicitly biasing editorial policies. In this paper, we apply ecological diversity measures to quantify the health of the Chilean online news ecology using extensive ownership and social media data. Results indicate that high levels concentration characterizes the Chilean media landscape in terms of ownership and topical coverage. Our methods reveal which groups of outlets and ownership exert the greatest influence on news coverage and can be generalized to any nation's news system.

 

Quantifying the ecological diversity and health of online news

Erick Elejalde, Leo Ferres, Eelco Herder, Johan Bollen

Journal of Computational Science

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Vicky Prefers Voltaire to Vogue: Obstacles to the Self-actualisation of Gifted Women within Social Systems

Giftedness is characterized by high intellectual capabilities and ambitions, unconventional thinking, and a drive to learn and be creative. We argue that gifted women face specific obstacles that, for many, have precluded their ability to develop their gifts, hindered their educational development and career, and made them feel frustrated and unfulfilled. We analyse testimonies of gifted women that we collected from across the globe to provide concrete evidence of these hurdles, thereby highlighting their struggles, while noting in particular their experiences of shame, guilt, fear and self-doubt. A full understanding of these issues requires a deconstruction of the symbolic paradigm that underpins the social system we live in. As gifted women are by nature drawn to creative, independent, intellectual pursuits, they deviate from the norms imposed by the social system. The resulting negative reactions frequently lead them to believe there is something intrinsically wrong with them. This produces the painful emotion of shame, which potently suppresses self- actualization.

 

Vicky Prefers Voltaire to Vogue:

Obstacles to the Self-actualisation of Gifted Women within
Social Systems
Kate KINGSBURY & Francis HEYLIGHEN

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Space Debris Removal: Learning to Cooperate and the Price of Anarchy

Space Debris Removal: Learning to Cooperate and the Price of Anarchy | Papers | Scoop.it

In this paper we study space debris removal from a game-theoretic perspective. In particular we focus on the question whether and how self-interested agents can cooperate in this dilemma, which resembles a tragedy of the commons scenario. We compare centralised and decentralised solutions and the corresponding price of anarchy, which measures the extent to which competition approximates cooperation. In addition we investigate whether agents can learn optimal strategies by reinforcement learning. To this end, we improve on an existing high fidelity orbital simulator, and use this simulator to obtain a computationally efficient surrogate model that can be used for our subsequent game-theoretic analysis. We study both single- and multi-agent approaches using stochastic (Markov) games and reinforcement learning. The main finding is that the cost of a decentralised, competitive solution can be significant, which should be taken into consideration when forming debris removal strategies.

 

 

Space Debris Removal: Learning to Cooperate and the Price of Anarchy

Richard Klima, Daan Bloembergen, Rahul Savani, Karl Tuyls, Alexander Wittig, Andrei Sapera and Dario Izzo

Front. Robot. AI, 04 June 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2018.00054

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From local collective behavior to global migratory patterns in white storks

Soaring migrant birds exploit columns of rising air (thermals) to cover large distances with minimal energy. Using social information while locating thermals may benefit such birds, but examining collective movements in wild migrants has been a major challenge for researchers. We investigated the group movements of a flock of 27 naturally migrating juvenile white storks by using high-resolution GPS and accelerometers. Analyzing individual and group movements on multiple scales revealed that a small number of leaders navigated to and explored thermals, whereas followers benefited from their movements. Despite this benefit, followers often left thermals earlier and at lower height, and consequently they had to flap considerably more. Followers also migrated less far annually than did leaders. We provide insights into the interactions between freely flying social migrants and the costs and benefits of collective movement in natural populations.


From local collective behavior to global migratory patterns in white storks
Andrea Flack, Máté Nagy, Wolfgang Fiedle, Iain D. Couzin, Martin Wikelski

Science 25 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6391, pp. 911-914
DOI: 10.1126/science.aap7781

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Six or Seven Things Social Media Can Do For Democracy

Social media often goes very wrong. Making it right requires a vision for how social media can help, not harm, society.

 

Six or Seven Things Social Media Can Do For Democracy

Ethan Zuckerman

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Guest Editorial: Special Issue on Approaches to Control Biological and Biologically Inspired Networks

The emerging field at the intersection of quantitative biology, network modeling, and control theory has enjoyed significant progress in recent years. This Special Issue brings together a selection of papers on complementary approaches to observe, identify, and control biological and biologically inspired networks. These approaches advance the state of the art in the field by addressing challenges common to many such networks, including high dimensionality, strong nonlinearity, uncertainty, and limited opportunities for observation and intervention. Because these challenges are not unique to biological systems, it is expected that many of the results presented in these contributions will also find applications in other domains, including physical, social, and technological networks.

 

Guest Editorial: Special Issue on Approaches to Control Biological and Biologically Inspired Networks

Reka Albert ; John Baillieul ; Adilson E. Motter

IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems ( Early Access )

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Guidelines for quantitative and qualitative studies of sensory substitution experience

Information that is normally accessed through a sensory modality (substituted modality, e.g., vision) is provided by sensory substitution devices (SSDs) through an alternative modality such as hearing or touch (i.e., substituting modality). SSDs usually support disabled users by replacing sensory inputs that have been lost, but they also offer a unique opportunity to study adaptation and flexibility in human perception. Current debates in sensory substitution (SS) literature focus mostly on its neural correlates and behavioural consequences. In particular, studies have demonstrated the neural plasticity of the visual brain regions that are activated by the substituting modality. Participants also adapt to using the devices for a broad spectrum of cognitive tasks that usually require sight. However, little is known about the SS experience. Also, there is no agreement on how the phenomenology of SS should be studied. Here, we offer guidelines for the methodology of studies investigating behavioural adaptation to SS and the effects of this adaptation on the subjective SS experience. We also discuss factors that may influence the results of SS studies: (1) the type of SSD, (2) the effects of training, (3) the role of sensory deprivation, (4) the role of the experimental environment, (5) the role of the tasks participants follow, and (6) the characteristics of the participants. In addition, we propose combining qualitative and quantitative methods and discuss how this should be achieved when studying the neural, behavioural, and experiential consequences of SS.

 

Guidelines for quantitative and qualitative studies of sensory substitution experience
Weronika Kałwak, Magdalena Reuter, Marta Łukowska, Bartosz Majchrowicz, Michał Wierzchoń

Adaptive Behavior

Vol 26, Issue 3, 2018

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Topography of epithelial–mesenchymal plasticity

Cells can change their phenotype from epithelial to mesenchymal during development and in cancer progression, where this transition is often associated with metastasis and poor disease prognosis. Here we show this process involves the transit through a multitude of metastable hybrid phenotypes in a way that is similar to the driven dynamics of disordered materials. Our method shows that highly aggressive hybrid epithelial/mesenchymal cell phenotypes are located in metastable regions that can easily switch under external and internal perturbations. We propose a general mapping strategy that can be used for other pathways, providing a useful tool to visualize the ever increasing number of gene expression data obtained from single cells and tissues.

 

Topography of epithelial–mesenchymal plasticity
Francesc Font-Clos, Stefano Zapperi, and Caterina A. M. La Porta
PNAS May 21, 2018. 201722609
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Predicting the temporal activity patterns of new venues

Estimating revenue and business demand of a newly opened venue is paramount as these early stages often involve critical decisions such as first rounds of staffing and resource allocation. Traditionally, this estimation has been performed through coarse-grained measures such as observing numbers in local venues or venues at similar places (e.g., coffee shops around another station in the same city). The advent of crowdsourced data from devices and services carried by individuals on a daily basis has opened up the possibility of performing better predictions of temporal visitation patterns for locations and venues. In this paper, using mobility data from Foursquare, a location-centric platform, we treat venue categories as proxies for urban activities and analyze how they become popular over time. The main contribution of this work is a prediction framework able to use characteristic temporal signatures of places together with k-nearest neighbor metrics capturing similarities among urban regions, to forecast weekly popularity dynamics of a new venue establishment in a city neighborhood. We further show how we are able to forecast the popularity of the new venue after one month following its opening by using locality and temporal similarity as features. For the evaluation of our approach we focus on London. We show that temporally similar areas of the city can be successfully used as inputs of predictions of the visit patterns of new venues, with an improvement of 41% compared to a random selection of wards as a training set for the prediction task. We apply these concepts of temporally similar areas and locality to the real-time predictions related to new venues and show that these features can effectively be used to predict the future trends of a venue. Our findings have the potential to impact the design of location-based technologies and decisions made by new business owners.

 

Predicting the temporal activity patterns of new venues
Krittika D’Silva, Anastasios Noulas, Mirco Musolesi, Cecilia Mascolo and Max Sklar
EPJ Data Science20187:13
https://doi.org/10.1140/epjds/s13688-018-0142-z

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The Human Takeover: A Call for a Venture into an Existential Opportunity

We propose a venture into an existential opportunity for establishing a world ‘good enough’ for humans to live in. Defining an existential opportunity as the converse of an existential risk—that is, a development that promises to dramatically improve the future of humanity—we argue that one such opportunity is available and should be explored now. The opportunity resides in the moment of transition of the Internet—from mediating information to mediating distributed direct governance in the sense of self-organization. The Internet of tomorrow will mediate the execution of contracts, transactions, public interventions and all other change-establishing events more reliably and more synergistically than any other technology or institution. It will become a distributed, synthetically intelligent agent in itself. This transition must not be just observed, or exploited instrumentally: it must be ventured into and seized on behalf of entire humanity. We envision a configuration of three kinds of cognitive system—the human mind, social systems and the emerging synthetic intelligence—serving to augment the autonomy of the first from the ‘programming’ imposed by the second. Our proposition is grounded in a detailed analysis of the manner in which the socio-econo-political system has evolved into a powerful control mechanism that subsumes human minds, steers their will and automates their thinking. We see the venture into the existential opportunity described here as aiming at the global dissolution of the core reason of that programming’s effectiveness—the critical dependence of the continuity of human lives on the coherence of the socially constructed personas they ‘wear.’ Thus, we oppose the popular prediction of the upcoming, ‘dreadful AI takeover’ with a call for action: instead of worrying that Artificial Intelligence will soon come to dominate and govern the human world, let us think of how it could help the human being to finally be able to do it.

 

The Human Takeover: A Call for a Venture into an Existential Opportunity
Marta Lenartowicz, David R. Weinbaum , Francis Heylighen, Kate Kingsbury and Tjorven Harmsen

Information 2018, 9(5), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/info9050113

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Will the New Ring Vaccination Stop the Spread of Ebola?

Will the New Ring Vaccination Stop the Spread of Ebola? | Papers | Scoop.it
The World Health Organization (WHO) and news reports are describing the deployment of a new experimental vaccine for Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Originally 4,000 doses were sent to the country, and while the number is growing to 8,000 or more, there are still not enough to widely inoculate the city of Mbandaka with a population of over a million. Reports describe how the vaccine will be used in a "ring vaccination" technique. In ring vaccination, those who are most likely to be infected receive the vaccine. Currently this is being done by inoculating the known contacts of the sick and the contacts of the contacts, as well as healthcare workers. Prior experiments suggest that the vaccine can prevent the disease in those individuals.

 

Yaneer Bar-Yam, Will the new ring vaccination stop the spread of Ebola?, New England Complex Systems Institute (May 23, 2018).

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