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On reverse engineering in the cognitive and brain sciences - Springer

On reverse engineering in the cognitive and brain sciences - Springer | Papers | Scoop.it

Various research initiatives try to utilize the operational principles of organisms and brains to develop alternative, biologically inspired computing paradigms and artificial cognitive systems. This article reviews key features of the standard method applied to complexity in the cognitive and brain sciences, i.e. decompositional analysis or reverse engineering. The indisputable complexity of brain and mind raise the issue of whether they can be understood by applying the standard method. Actually, recent findings in the experimental and theoretical fields, question central assumptions and hypotheses made for reverse engineering. Using the modeling relation as analyzed by Robert Rosen, the scientific analysis method itself is made a subject of discussion. It is concluded that the fundamental assumption of cognitive science, i.e. complex cognitive systems can be analyzed, understood and duplicated by reverse engineering, must be abandoned. Implications for investigations of organisms and behavior as well as for engineering artificial cognitive systems are discussed.

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Saint Matthew strikes again: An agent-based model of peer review and the scientific community structure

Saint Matthew strikes again: An agent-based model of peer review and the scientific community structure | Papers | Scoop.it

Saint Matthew strikes again: An agent-based model of peer review and the scientific community structure
Flaminio Squazzoni, , Claudio Gandelli

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Experimental verification of Landauer/'s principle linking information and thermodynamics

Experimental verification of Landauer/'s principle linking information and thermodynamics | Papers | Scoop.it

In 1961, Rolf Landauer argued that the erasure of information is a dissipative process. A minimal quantity of heat, proportional to the thermal energy and called the Landauer bound, is necessarily produced when a classical bit of information is deleted. A direct consequence of this logically irreversible transformation is that the entropy of the environment increases by a finite amount. Despite its fundamental importance for information theory and computer science, the erasure principle has not been verified experimentally so far (…) This result demonstrates the intimate link between information theory and thermodynamics. It further highlights the ultimate physical limit of irreversible computation.

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Entropy and equilibrium state of free market models

Entropy and equilibrium state of free market models | Papers | Scoop.it

Many recent models of trade dynamics use the simple idea of wealth exchanges among economic agents in order to obtain a stable or equilibrium distribution of wealth among the agents. In particular, a plain analogy compares the wealth in a society with the energy in a physical system, and the trade between agents to the energy exchange between molecules during collisions. In physical systems, the energy exchange among molecules leads to a state of equipartition of the energy and to an equilibrium situation where the entropy is a maximum. On the other hand, in a large class of exchange models, the system converges to a very unequal condensed state, where one or a few agents concentrate all the wealth of the society while the wide majority of agents shares zero or almost zero fraction of the wealth. So, in those economic systems a minimum entropy state is attained. We propose here an analytical model where we investigate the effects of a particular class of economic exchanges that minimize the entropy. By solving the model we discuss the conditions that can drive the system to a state of minimum entropy, as well as the mechanisms to recover a kind of equipartition of wealth.

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Universal Theory on Growth and Mixing

What do humpback whales returning to calve in the waters of Maui have to do with the ground state energy of a quantum system? Both exhibit a mathematical property called the "reduction phenomenon", which can be described very simply: mixing reduces growth, and differential growth selects for reduced mixing. The phenomenon underlies the Reduction Principle for the evolution of recombination, mutation, and dispersal rates, as well as recent results in reaction-diffusion models of dispersal. Animals returning to their birth places to give birth exemplify operation of the Reduction Principle through philopatry. In molecular genetics it is manifest as error-free DNA repair. In cultural evolution models it is manifest as traditionalism. Yet, departures from reduction are abundant, such as recombination and dispersal. How can sense be made of the complexity of outcomes? Two new papers describes mathematical results that extend the reduction phenomenon to infinite dimensional operators, and investigate departures from reduction which follow the "Principle of Partial Control". A new population statistic, the "fitness-abundance covariance", links ecological properties to the reduction phenomenon.

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Using Protein Interaction Networks to Understand Complex Diseases

Recent developments in biotechnology have enabled interrogation of the cell at various levels, leading to many types of "omic" data that provide valuable information on multiple genetic and environmental factors and their interactions. The featured Web extra is a video interview with Mehmet Koyutürk of Case Western Reserve about how biotechnology can track genetic markers to advance cancer research.

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Self-Organization at the Nanoscale Scale in Far-From-Equilibrium Surface Reactions and Copolymerizations

An overview is given of theoretical progress on self-organization at the
nanoscale in reactive systems of heterogeneous catalysis observed by field
emission microscopy techniques and at the molecular scale in copolymerization
processes. The results are presented in the perspective of recent advances in
nonequilibrium thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, allowing us to
understand how nanosystems driven away from equilibrium can manifest
directionality and dynamical order.

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Identifying influential spreaders and efficiently estimating the number of infections in epidemic models: a path counting approach

We introduce a new method to efficiently approximate the number of infections resulting from a given initially-infected node in a network of susceptible individuals, based on counting the number of possible infection paths of various lengths to each other node in the network. We analytically study the properties of our method systematically, in particular demonstrating different forms for SIS and SIR disease spreading (e.g. under the SIR model our method counts self-avoiding walks). In comparison to existing methods to infer the spreading efficiency of different nodes in the network (based on degree, k-shell decomposition analysis and different centrality measures), our method directly considers the spreading process, and as such is unique in providing estimation of actual numbers of infections. Crucially, in simulating infections on various real-world networks with the SIR model, we show that our walks-based method improves the inference of effectiveness of nodes over a wide range of infection rates compared to existing methods. We also analyse the trade-off between estimate accuracy and computational cost of our method, showing that the better accuracy here can still be obtained at a comparable computational cost to other methods.

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Swarm Intelligence: Is the Group Really Smarter?

Swarm Intelligence: Is the Group Really Smarter? | Papers | Scoop.it
Decentralized problem solving works better on some problems than others. According to an article from SEO Theory, swarms work in situations that involve discovery, testing, and comparing results. For example, ants finding the most efficient route to food, or iPhone users who use their Yelp App to find the highest-rated restaurant close by. By leveraging the volume of agents involved, you can act upon complex and rapidly changing sets of data. This works in situations where you are looking for the most efficient method of execution, or the most optimal process. Shipping companies, for example, use Swarm Theory computer algorithms to reallocate trucking routes based on up-to-the-minute energy prices. Swarm Theory works less effectively for creative processes like innovation, except perhaps as a broad directional pointer. A Swarm cannot paint the next Mona Lisa.

Via Fabio Vanni
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Google - a new paradigm to cultivate innovation & collective intelligence

Google - a new paradigm to cultivate innovation & collective intelligence | Papers | Scoop.it
Here are some brief notes about how Google fosters collective intelligence through the structure of the organisation, values and culture.

Via Spaceweaver
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Early Warning Signals for Critical Transitions: A Generalized Modeling Approach

Fisheries, coral reefs, productive farmland, planetary climate, neural activity in the brain, and financial markets are all complex systems that can be susceptible to sudden changes leading to drastic re-organization or collapse. A variety of signals based on analysis of time-series data have been proposed that would provide warning of these so-called critical transitions. We propose a new method for calculating early warning signals that is complementary to existing approaches. The key step is to incorporate other available information about the system through the framework of a so-called generalized model. Our new approach may help to anticipate future catastrophic regime shifts in nature and society, allowing humankind to avert or to mitigate the consequences of the impending change.

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Mapping Global Friendship Ties | Facebook

Mapping Global Friendship Ties | Facebook | Papers | Scoop.it
Facebook Data Team wrote a note titled Mapping Global Friendship Ties. Read the full text here.
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Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance

Science assessments indicate that human activities are moving several of Earth's sub-systems outside the range of natural variability typical for the previous 500,000 years. Human societies must now change course and steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that might lead to rapid and irreversible change. This requires fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions toward more effective Earth system governance and planetary stewardship.

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From Local to Global Dilemmas in Social Networks

From Local to Global Dilemmas in Social Networks | Papers | Scoop.it

Social networks affect in such a fundamental way the dynamics of the population they support that the global, population-wide behavior that one observes often bears no relation to the individual processes it stems from. Up to now, linking the global networked dynamics to such individual mechanisms has remained elusive.

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Removing spurious interactions in complex networks

Removing spurious interactions in complex networks | Papers | Scoop.it

Identifying and removing spurious links in complex networks is meaningful for many real applications and is crucial for improving the reliability of network data, which, in turn, can lead to a better understanding of the highly interconnected nature of various social, biological, and communication systems. In this paper, we study the features of different simple spurious link elimination methods, revealing that they may lead to the distortion of networks’ structural and dynamical properties. Accordingly, we propose a hybrid method that combines similarity-based index and edge-betweenness centrality. We show that our method can effectively eliminate the spurious interactions while leaving the network connected and preserving the network's functionalities.

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Complexity science and theory development for the futures field 10.1016/j.futures.2012.02.003 : Futures | ScienceDirect.com

Complexity science unifies some forty diverse features that arise from the evolution of the civil system and these underlie theory development in the futures field. The main features of an evolutionary methodology deal with emergence, macrolaws, civil or societal transitions, macrosystem design, and the absorption of extreme events. The following principles apply: (1) The civil system is an open system in which investment capital is the system growth parameter that drives it away from equilibrium, with the formation of spatial structure. (2) The historical circumstances of human settlements provide a path dependency in respect of natural resources, defence, energy, transport, or communications. (3) Emergent properties arise within a complex adaptive system from which a theory of the system can be formulated, and these are not deducible from the features of the transacting entities. (4) Futures research identifies the conditions that will lead to an irreversible civil or societal phase transition to a new stage of development. (5) Emergent behaviour in the macrostructure at regional or continental levels can be influenced through critical intervention points in the global macrosystems.

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Learning, Social Intelligence and the Turing Test - why an "out-of-the-box" Turing Machine will not pass the Turing Test

The Turing Test (TT) checks for human intelligence, rather than any putative
general intelligence. It involves repeated interaction requiring learning in
the form of adaption to the human conversation partner. It is a macro-level
post-hoc test in contrast to the definition of a Turing Machine (TM), which is
a prior micro-level definition. This raises the question of whether learning is
just another computational process, i.e. can be implemented as a TM. Here we
argue that learning or adaption is fundamentally different from computation,
though it does involve processes that can be seen as computations. (…) We conclude three things, namely that: a
purely "designed" TM will never pass the TT; that there is no such thing as a
general intelligence since it necessary involves learning; and that
learning/adaption and computation should be clearly distinguished.

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The role of strong and weak ties in Facebook: a community structure perspective

In this paper we report our findings on the analysis of two large datasets representing the friendship structure of the well-known Facebook network. In particular, we discuss the quantitative assessment of the strength of weak ties Granovetter's theory, considering the problem from the perspective of the community structure of the network. We describe our findings providing some clues of the validity of this theory also for a large-scale online social network such as Facebook.

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The Future of Complexity Engineering

Complexity Engineering encompasses a set of approaches to engineering systems which are typically composed of various interacting entities often exhibiting self-* behaviours and emergence. The engineer or designer uses methods that benefit from the findings of complexity science and often considerably differ from the classical engineering approach of ‘divide and conquer’. This article provides an overview on some very interdisciplinary and innovative research areas and projects in the field of Complexity Engineering, including synthetic biology, chemistry, artificial life, self-healing materials and others. It then classifies the presented work according to five types of nature-inspired technology, namely: (1) using technology to understand nature, (2) nature- inspiration for technology, (3) using technology on natural systems, (4) using biotechnology methods in software engineering, and (5) using technology to model nature. Finally, future trends in Complexity Engineering are indicated and related risks are discussed.

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Megacities as sites of change

Megacities as sites of change | Papers | Scoop.it
Guest bloggers sound off on solutions for the future. Eight change accelerators in energy, mobility and design start the conversation, and you join in.

Via Alessio Erioli, proto-e-co-logics
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luiy's curator insight, March 8, 2013 6:01 AM

Megacities are our future: There are more than 20 megacities in the world today and by 2025 there will be around 30 of them. They are home to more than 10 million people and sprawl for hundreds of kilometers. Their projected rapid expansion by the middle of this century will drive our economies and shape our lives. But they are not carefully designed superstructures; instead, they are aggregations of building developments that spread like weeds over already stressed infrastructures. Megacities offer the greatest opportunities and challenges for humankind in the 21st century as they exist at the interface where urban systems meet technology to support human development.

 

With the appropriate infrastructures supporting them, combined technologies can form qualitatively new kinds of engagement between buildings and the megacity environment. An exploratory project between Astudio architects and AVATAR examines the potential for upgrading the environmental performance of entire buildings in situ. The structural bones of buildings are kept in place and pruned as fit for purpose frameworks, without having to displace existing inhabitants, which are then re-wrapped with living facades. These are the next generation of functional vertical gardens that are colonized by microorganisms and life-like chemistries that assist with the lifecycles of buildings being able to process waste and make biofuels using local resources.

Architecture does not need to be limited by inert surfaces, which create a barrier between people and the environment but could directly engage the surroundings through active interfaces which act as vast synthetic soils. These might be maintained under surveillance by smart microfluidics monitoring systems and robotic gardeners. A taste of these dynamic geotextiles can be experienced in the architectural installation Hylozoic Ground, a finalist for the Katerva Award insustainability. This jungle-like technology is a prototype for living building surfaces that combine cybernetics with smart chemistry. The immersive, evolving technology offers a responsive framework for a new kind of architectural experience that senses people and the environment and whose principles may be applied in other contexts, such as gardens. Hylozoic Ground could even offer its inhabitants positive emotional experiences similar to being close to nature.

The grand vision of achieving positive human development in the 21st century will require effective coordination between disciplines, institutions, cultures, and geographical regions. The pressing concerns that affect us all are many and varied—and would require humanity to perform at its very best to secure a long-term partnership with this unstable earth that is our home.

 

 

 

Questions:

What are the challenges to developing and implementing a global vision of positive human development?

How can developed countries best transfer knowledge to the Global South?

How can combined technologies in cities help address significant social inequalities?

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A measure of individual role in collective dynamics

Identifying key players in collective dynamics remains a challenge in several research fields, from the efficient dissemination of ideas to drug target discovery in biomedical problems.
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Alan Turing at 100

Alan Turing at 100 | Papers | Scoop.it

Alan Turing, born a century ago this year, is best known for his wartime code-breaking and for inventing the 'Turing machine' – the concept at the heart of every computer today. But his legacy extends much further: he founded the field of artificial intelligence, proposed a theory of biological pattern formation and speculated about the limits of computation in physics. In this collection of features and opinion pieces, Nature celebrates the mind that, in a handful of papers over a tragically short lifetime, shaped many of the hottest fields in science today.

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