Complexity Digest 2010.05
Editor-in-Chief: Carlos Gershenson
Founding Editor: Gottfried Mayer
For individual e-mail subscriptions go to Subscriptions.
Previous issue 2010.04 | Next issue 2010.06
- The Hidden Fragility of Complex Systems: Consequences of Change, Changing Consequences, SFI Working Papers
- Systemic Risks in Society and Economics, SFI Working Papers
- Limits of Predictability in Human Mobility, Science
- Why We Conform, PLoS Biol
- Kevin Kelly tells technology's epic story, TED.com
- Under Microscope and Macroscope, Science
- An Investigation into the Cognition Behind Spontaneous String Pulling in New Caledonian Crows, PLoS ONE
- Evolution: Revenge of the hopeful monster, Nature
- Decoupling Environment-Dependent and Independent Genetic Robustness across Bacterial Species, PLoS Comput Biol
- Absolute Humidity and the Seasonal Onset of Influenza in the Continental United States, PLoS Biol
- El Farol Revisited, SFI Working Papers
- A Universal Trend of Reduced mRNA Stability near the Translation-Initiation Site in Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes, PLoS Comput Biol
- Intelligent Infrastructure for Energy Efficiency, Science
- Evolution of ethnocentrism on undirected and directed BarabĂˇsiâ€"Albert networks, Physica A
- Effects of multiple gene control on the spread of altruism by group selection, arXiv
- Historical Costs of Coal-Fired Electricity and Implications for the Future, SFI Working Papers
- Mesoscopic Organization Reveals the Constraints Governing Caenorhabditis elegans Nervous System, PLoS ONE
- Identifying Prototypical Components in Behaviour Using Clustering Algorithms, PLoS ONE
- Book Announcements
- Complexity and Organizational Realities: Uncertainty and the Need to Rethink Management after the Collapse of Investment Capitalism, Routledge
- Nonlinear Science: The Challenge of Complex Systems, Springer
- Econophysics & Economics of Games, Social Choices and Quantitative Techniques, Springer
- Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probability on Everything You Do, McGraw-Hill
- Links & Snippets
- Other Publications
- Conference Announcements
- Webcast Announcements
- Other Announcements
The Hidden Fragility of Complex Systems: Consequences of Change, Changing Consequences, SFI Working Papers
Abstract: Short-term survival and an exuberant plunge into building our future are generating a new kind of unintended consequenceâ€"hidden fragility. This is a direct effect of the sophistication and structural complexity of the socio-technical systems humans create. It is inevitable. And so the challenge is, How much can we understand and predict about these systems and about the social dynamics that lead to their construction?
Systemic Risks in Society and Economics, SFI Working Papers
Abstract: This contribution presents a summary of sources and drivers of systemic risks in socio-economic systems and related governance issues. The analysis is based on the theory of complex systems and illustrated by numerous examples, including financial market instability. Typical misunderstandings regarding the behavior and functioning of socio-economic systems will be addressed, and some current threats for the stability of social and economic systems are pointed out.
Limits of Predictability in Human Mobility, Science
Abstract: A range of applications, from predicting the spread of human and electronic viruses to city planning and resource management in mobile communications, depend on our ability to foresee the whereabouts and mobility of individuals, raising a fundamental question: To what degree is human behavior predictable? Here we explore the limits of predictability in human dynamics by studying the mobility patterns of anonymized mobile phone users. By measuring the entropy of each individualâ€™s trajectory, we find a 93% potential predictability in user mobility across the whole user base. Despite the significant differences in the travel patterns, we find a remarkable lack of variability in predictability, which is largely independent of the distance users cover on a regular basis.
Excerpt: In his book Why We Cooperate, Michael Tomasello explores the socio-cognitive mindset that forms the basis of human sociality, including the creation of cultural artifacts and social institutions. The key message is that humans are fundamentally helpful and cooperative, as evidenced by infants' willingness to provide information, help, and share worldly goods. Later in life, experience may corrupt this benevolent attitude, but the core point for Tomasello is that children exhibit other-regarding preferences, and it is precisely this feature that sets them apart from our closest living relatives, the great apes.
- Source: Why We Conform, Julia Fischer, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000277, PLoS Biol 8(2): e1000277, 2010/02/02
Kevin Kelly tells technology's epic story, TED.com
About this talk: In this wide-ranging, thought-provoking talk from TEDxAmsterdam, Kevin Kelly muses on what technology means in our lives -- from its impact at the personal level to its place in the cosmos.
Under Microscope and Macroscope, Science
Excerpt: Although we are all familiar with "technology," how many of us would try to define it and describe the principles that govern its workings? In The Nature of Technology, W. Brian Arthur does that and more: Besides offering a coherent depiction of technology's underlying attributes and inner structure, he seeks to demonstrate that its historical development is a form of (non-Darwinian) evolution, describe how engineering and invention function, and elucidate the ways by which technology prompts change in economic structures. His account is almost always enlightening, stimulating, and thought-provoking.
An Investigation into the Cognition Behind Spontaneous String Pulling in New Caledonian Crows, PLoS ONE
Excerpt: The ability of some bird species to pull up meat hung on a string is a famous example of spontaneous animal problem solving. The â€śinsightâ€ť hypothesis claims that this complex behaviour is based on cognitive abilities such as mental scenario building and imagination. An operant conditioning account, in contrast, would claim that this spontaneity is due to each action in string pulling being reinforced by the meat moving closer and remaining closer to the bird on the perch. [...] Our results raise the possibility that spontaneous string pulling in New Caledonian crows may not be based on insight but on operant conditioning mediated by a perceptual-motor feedback cycle.
Evolution: Revenge of the hopeful monster, Nature
Excerpt: Single-gene changes that confer a large adaptive value do happen: they are not rare, they are not doomed and, when competing with small-effect mutations, they tend to win. But small-effect mutations still matter â€" a lot. They provide essential fine-tuning and sometimes pave the way for explosive evolution to follow. As the molecular details unfold, theory badly needs to catch up.
Decoupling Environment-Dependent and Independent Genetic Robustness across Bacterial Species, PLoS Comput Biol
Excerpt: Here we conduct the first large-scale computational study charting the level of robustness of metabolic networks of hundreds of bacterial species across many simulated growth environments. We provide evidence that variations among species in their level of robustness reflect ecological adaptations.
Absolute Humidity and the Seasonal Onset of Influenza in the Continental United States, PLoS Biol
Summary: Here, the authors demonstrate that variations of absolute humidity explain both the onset of wintertime influenza transmission and the overarching seasonality of this pathogen in temperate regions.
Abstract: Some years ago Brian (Arthur 1994) published a seminal article on the problem of resolving the crowding conditions at his favorite local bar El Farol, in Santa Fe. The informal setting and its seating problems provided a striking metaphor for a basic coordination problem that occurs in many contexts. Arthur provided an imaginative and deep solution to an every day minor problem. A simple version is as follows: Say 100 people like to go to listen to the music, but all dislike overcrowding. They all have the same taste that indicates that they enjoy attending if there are 60 or fewer individuals, but would prefer to stay away if there is a higher number than 60 in attendance. Each individual has a large set of rules of thumb that he or she utilizes. The rules are of the variety such as do not go the bar if last time there were over 60 present; or go if the you think the trend 81, 71, 62 will continue. As long as an individualâ€™s rule of thumb works he stays with it, when it fails another rule is tried. Arthurâ€™s simulations showed that the mean attendance was around 60 although the numbers were in constant fluctuation.
A Universal Trend of Reduced mRNA Stability near the Translation-Initiation Site in Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes, PLoS Comput Biol
Excerpt: Synonymous mutations are mutations that change the nucleotide sequence of a gene without changing the amino-acid sequence. Because these mutations don't alter the expressed protein, they are frequently also called silent mutations. Yet increasing evidence demonstrates that synonymous mutations are not that silent. In particular, experimental work in Escherichia coli has shown that the choice of synonymous codons near the start codon can greatly influence protein production. (...)
Intelligent Infrastructure for Energy Efficiency, Science
Excerpt: The Internet allowed applications to reside where information is created and consumed, from reading e-mail to viewing virtual worlds. In this way, its applications are independent of how the network connecting them is constructed. This observation is equally applicable to building infrastructure: Sensors and actuators can compute and communicate to solve problems locally rather than having functions fixed by a central controller.
Evolution of ethnocentrism on undirected and directed BarabĂˇsiâ€"Albert networks, Physica A
Abstract: Using Monte Carlo simulations, we study the evolution of contingent cooperation and ethnocentrism in the one-shot game. Interactions and reproduction among computational agents are simulated on undirected and directed BarabĂˇsiâ€"Albert (BA) networks. We first replicate the Hammondâ€"Axelrod model of in-group favoritism on a square lattice and then generalize this model on undirected and directed BA networks for both asexual and sexual reproduction cases. Our simulations demonstrate that irrespective of the mode of reproduction, the ethnocentric strategy becomes common even though cooperation is individually costly and mechanisms such as reciprocity or conformity are absent. Moreover, our results indicate that the spread of favoritism towards similar others highly depends on the network topology and the associated heterogeneity of the studied population.
Effects of multiple gene control on the spread of altruism by group selection, arXiv
Excerpt: It was suggested recently that chances for altruistic behavior to spread highly increase when it is controlled not by a single gene but by multiple independent genes substitutable in their effects on the phenotype of the individual. Here we confirm the original verbal model published as part of the frozen plasticity theory by numerical modeling of the spread of altruistic/selfish alleles in a metapopulation consisting of partly isolated groups of organisms (demes) interconnected by migration. We have shown that altruistic behavior coded by multiple substitutable genes can stably coexist with selfish behavior, even under relatively high mutation and migration rates, i.e. under such conditions where altruistic behavior coded by a single gene is quickly outcompeted in a metapopulation.
Historical Costs of Coal-Fired Electricity and Implications for the Future, SFI Working Papers
Abstract: We study the costs of coal-fired electricity in the United States between 1882 and 2006 by decomposing it in terms of the price of coal, transportation costs, energy density, thermal efficiency, plant construction cost, interest rate, and capacity factor. The dominant determinants of costs at present are the price of coal and plant construction cost. The price of coal appears to fluctuate more or less randomly while the construction cost follows long-term trends, decreasing from 1902 - 1970, increasing from 1970 - 1990, and leveling of or decreasing a little since then. This leads us to forecast that even without carbon capture and storage, and even under an optimistic scenario in which construction costs resume their previously decreasing trending behavior, the cost of coal-based electricity will drop for a while but eventually be determined by the price of coal, which varies stochastically but shows no long term decreasing trends. Our analysis emphasizes the importance of using long time series and comparing different electricity generation technologies using total costs, rather than costs of single components like capital.
Mesoscopic Organization Reveals the Constraints Governing Caenorhabditis elegans Nervous System, PLoS ONE
Excerpt: One of the biggest challenges in biology is to understand how activity at the cellular level of neurons, as a result of their mutual interactions, leads to the observed behavior of an organism responding to a variety of environmental stimuli. Investigating the intermediate or mesoscopic level of organization in the nervous system is a vital step towards understanding how the integration of micro-level dynamics results in macro-level functioning. [...] Using modular spectral analysis we make explicit the intimate relation between function and structure in the nervous system.
Identifying Prototypical Components in Behaviour Using Clustering Algorithms, PLoS ONE
Excerpt: Quantitative analysis of animal behaviour is a requirement to understand the task solving strategies of animals and the underlying control mechanisms. The identification of repeatedly occurring behavioural components is thereby a key element of a structured quantitative description. However, the complexity of most behaviours makes the identification of such behavioural components a challenging problem. We propose an automatic and objective approach for determining and evaluating prototypical behavioural components.
Complexity and Organizational Realities: Uncertainty and the Need to Rethink Management after the Collapse of Investment Capitalism, Routledge
Summary: Approaches to leadership and management are still dominated by prescriptions â€" usually claimed as scientific â€" for top executives to choose the future direction of their organization. The global financial recession and the collapse of investment capitalism (surely not planned by anyone) make it quite clear that top executives are simply not able to choose future directions. (...) Ralph Stacey has turned to the sciences of uncertainty and complexity to develop an understanding of leadership and management as the ordinary politics of daily organizational life.
Nonlinear Science: The Challenge of Complex Systems, Springer
Summary: This book gives a general, basic understanding of the mathematical structure "nonlinearity" that lies in the depths of complex systems. Analyzing the heterogeneity that the prefix "non" represents with respect to notions such as the linear space, integrability and scale hierarchy, "nonlinear science" is explained as a challenge of deconstruction of the modern sciences. This book is not a technical guide to teach mathematical tools of nonlinear analysis, nor a zoology of so-called nonlinear phenomena. By critically analyzing the structure of linear theories, and clarifying their limitation, this book makes the meaning of "nonlinear" precise and concrete.
Econophysics & Economics of Games, Social Choices and Quantitative Techniques, Springer
Summary: The combined efforts of the Physicists and the Economists in recent years in analyzing and modelling various dynamic phenomena in monetary and social systems have led to encouraging developments, generally classified under the title of Econophysics. These developments share a common ambition with the already established field of Quantitative Economics. This volume intends to offer the reader a glimpse of these two parallel initiatives by collecting review papers written by well-known experts in the respective research frontiers in one cover. This massive book presents a unique combination of research papers contributed almost equally by Physicists and Economists.
Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probability on Everything You Do, McGraw-Hill
Summary: This fascinating book from renowned statistician and blogger Kaiser Fung takes you inside the hidden world of facts and figures that affect you every day, in every way. These are the statistics that rule your life, your job, your commute, your vacation, your food, your health, your money, and your success. This is how engineers calculate your quality of living, how corporations determine your needs, and how politicians estimate your opinions. These are the numbers you never think about-even though they play a crucial role in every single aspect of your life.
Links & Snippets
- Studies of the Limit Order Book around Large Price Changes, Bence TĂłth, JĂˇnos KertĂ©sz, Doyne Farmer, SFI Working Papers, DOI: SFI-WP 09-12-046
- Whole-Genome Based Prokaryotic Branches of the Tree of Life, Bailin Hao, SFI Working Papers, DOI: SFI-WP 10-01-001
- Multilevel and kin selection in a connected world, Michael J. Wade, et al., 2010/02/18, Nature 463, E8-E9, DOI: 10.1038/nature08809
- Agent-Based Modeling of Endotoxin-Induced Acute Inflammatory Response in Human Blood Leukocytes, Dong X, Foteinou PT, Calvano SE, Lowry SF, Androulakis IP, February 2010, PLoS ONE 5(2): e9249., DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009249
- 4th International Nonlinear Science Conference, University of Palermo, Sicily, 2010/03/15-17
- 20th European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research, EMCSR 2010, University of Vienna, Austria, 10/04/6-9
- EvoStar 2010 , Istanbul, Turkey, 10/04/7-10
- International Conference on Computer Supported Education, Valencia, Spain, 10/04/7-10
- EmergeNET4: Engineering Emergence, York, UK, 2010/04/19-20
- Emergence and Design of Robustness, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 2010/04/19-23
- Second International Workshop-School CHAOS and DYNAMICS in BIOLOGICAL NETWORKS, Corsica, France, 2010/05/3-8
- AAMAS-2010, the 9th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, Toronto Canada, 2010/05/10-14
- The IV International Workshop on Nature Inspired Cooperative Strategies for Optimization - NICSO 2010, Granada, Spain, 10/05/12-14
- Morphogenesis in Living Systems 2010, Paris, France, 2010/05/27-29
- International Conference on Computational Science 2010 (ICCS 2010), University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2010/05/31-06/2
- ICEIS 2010 (12th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems), Funchal-Madeira, Portugal, 10/06/6-10
- International Workshop on Living Organisms in Flows: From Small-Scale Turbulence to Geophysical Flows, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 2010/06/7-11
- ICAC 2010, the 7th IEEE International Conference on Autonomic Computing, Washington, DC, USA, 2010/06/7-11
- NKS Summer School, University of Vermont, USA, 2010/06/21-07/09
- First European Summer School on Life & Cognition, Donostia-San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain, 2010/06/22-26
- International Conference on Information Society (i-Society 2010) , London, UK, 2010/06/28-30
- Tomorrow's Giants, London, UK, 2010/07/01
- 9th IEEE International Conference on Cognitive Informatics (ICCI 2010), Beijing, China, 2010/07/7-9
- Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO-2010), Portland, Oregon, USA, 2010/07/7-11
- The 2010 Advanced Geographical Analysis and Modeling Workshop, Neve Ilan, Israel, 2010/07/8-10
- New Frontiers in Complex Networks: A Statphys24 Satellite Meeting, Seoul, Korea, 2010/07/12-16
- 2010 World Congress on Computational Intelligence (IJCNN 2010, FUZZ-IEEE 2010, and IEEE CEC 2010), Barcelona, Spain, 10/07/18-23
- The 2010 International Conference on Informatics Cypernetics, and Computer Applications (ICICCA2010), Bangalore, India, 2010/07/19-21
- 1st International Workshop on Complexity and Real World Applications: Using the Tools and Concepts from the Complexity Sciences to Support Real World Decision-making Activities, Southampton, England, UK, 2010/07/21-23
- 2010 International Conference on the Business and Digital Enterprises (ICBDE 2010), Bangalore, India, 2010/07/22-24
- Dynamics Days South America, SĂŁo JosĂ© dos Campos, Brazil, 2010/07/26-30
- Hands-On Research in Complex Systems School, Buea, Cameroon, 2010/08/2-13
- European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information (ESSLLI), Copenhagen, Denmark, 10/08/09-20
- Amorphous Computing and Complex Biological Networks, University of Sheffield, UK, 2010/08/17-20
- Artificial Life XII (ALife XII), Odense, Denmark, 10/08/19--23. Deadline extended to March 31st.
- The Second IEEE International Conference on Social Computing (SocialCom-2010):
Enabling Computing, Services and Intelligence for Social Life, Minneapolis, USA, 2010/08/20-22
- From animals to animats: the Eleventh International Conference on the Simulation of Adaptive Behavior (SAB'10), , Paris, France, 2010/08/24-28
- 2010 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence (WI-10), Toronto, Canada, 2010/08/31-09/03
- ANTS 2010, Seventh International Conference on Swarm Intelligence, Brussels, Belgium, 10/09/8-10
- Artificial Economics, Treviso, Italy, 2010/09/9-10
- PPSN 2010: 11th International Conference on Parallel Problem Solving From Nature, Krakow, Poland, 2010/09/11-15
- European Conference on Complex Systems, Lisbon, Portugal, 2010/09/13-17
- 12th International Symposium on Stabilization, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems (SSS 2010), New York City, USA, 2010/09/20-22
- CASoN 2010 International Conference on Computational Aspects of Social Networks, Taiyuan, China, 2010/09/26â€"28
- SASO 2010 Fourth IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing Systems, Budapest, Hungary, 2010/09/27-10/01
- Fifth National Conference on systems science, Fermo, Italy, 2010/10/16
- The 5th Int'l Conference on Bio-Inspired Models of Network, Information and Computing Systems, Boston, MA, USA, 2010/12/1-3
- Smarter Cities NYC. Posted on 2009/10/05
- ASSYST Digital Library. Since 09/09
- Complex Systems Teleconferences. Since 09/09
Symmetry Festival 2009, Budapest, Hungary, 09/08/1-4.
- International Workshop on Coping with Crises in Complex Socio-Economic Systems, Zurich, Switzerland, 09/06/8-12
- Memorial Service for Dr Gottfried Mayer, Founding Editor Complexity Digest, Taipei, Taiwan (1954-2009). Video [RM], 09/02/13
- Making Connections: In Memory and Celebration of the Life of Dr. Gottfried Mayer (1954-2009). Video [RM] [MPG], 09/02/13
- Eulogy for Gottfried Mayer by Dean LeBaron [WMV, 25 Mb], [RM, 10 Mb], 09/02/10
- Can Ants Solve Traffic Jams?, Danielle Parsons, Slatev.com, 08/07/22
- Reseau Nationale des Systemes Complexes , (in French), 2007
- World Economic Forum , Davos, Switzerland, 08/01/22-27
- TED Talks, TED Conferences LLC , since 2006
- Talking Robots: The PodCast on Robotics and AI, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, 06/11/03
- Potentials of Complexity Science for Business, Governments, and the Media 2006, Budapest, Hungary, 06/08/03-05
- 6th Intl Conf on Complex Systems (ICCS), Boston, MA, 06/06/25-30
- Artificial Life X, 10th Intl Conf on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems, Bloomington, IN, USA. 2006/06/03-07
- 6th Understanding Complex Systems Symposium, Urbana-Champaign, Il, 06/05/15-18
- Ralph Abraham on Complexity Digest, , Calcutta, India, 05/12/27
- An Afternoon with Michael Crichton, Washington, 05/11/06
- Illuminating the Shadow of the Future, Ann Arbor, Mi 05/09/23-25
- Open Network of Centres of Excellence in Complex Systems - Brainstorming Meeting, Paris, France 05/09/19-23
- Complexity, Science & Society Conference 2005, U. Liverpool, UK 2005/09/11-14
- ECAL 2005 - VIIIth European Conference on Artificial Life, Canterbury, Kent, UK 2005/09/5-9
- T. Irene Sanders, Executive Director and Founder, The Washington Center for Complexity & Public Policy, 05/08/27, QuickTime video (10:38 min), Podcast
- North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity 2005 Conference, Virtual Conference Network, St. Pete's Beach, Florida, 05/06/09-11
- Understanding Complex Systems - Computational Complexity and Bioinformatics, Virtual Conference Network, Urbana-Champaign, Il, UIUC, 05/05/16-19
- Nonlinearity, Fluctuations, and Complexity, with a celebration of the 65th birthday of Gregoire Nicolis. , Complexity Session, Universite' Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, 05/03/16
- 1st European Conference on Complex Systems, Torino, Italy, 04/12/5-7
- From Autopoiesis to Neurophenomenology: A Tribute to Francisco Varela (1946-2001), Paris, France, 2004/06/18-20
- Evolutionary Epistemology, Language, and Culture, Brussels, Belgium, 04/05/26-28
- International Conference on Complex Systems 2004, Boston, 04/05/16-21
- Nonlinear Dynamics And Chaos: Lab Demonstrations, Strogatz, Steven H., Internet-First University Press, 1994
- CERN Webcast Service, Streamed videos of Archived Lectures and Live Events
- Dean LeBaron's Archive of Daily Video Commentary, Ongoing Since February 1998
- Edge Videos
Also available in:
Simple HTML format |
TXT format |
TXT format with links |