|Complexity Digest 2001.18|
"I think the next century will be the century of complexity." Stephen Hawking, 2000.
Excerpt: Researchers investigating a long-ignored Peruvian archaeological site say they have determined that it is the oldest city in the Americas, with a complex, highly structured society The finding is forcing a re-evaluation of ideas about the rise of the earliest civilizations in the New World, particularly how and when ancient peoples moved from the coasts, with reliable ocean food sources, to inland settlements with less stable supplies of food.
- Archaeological Site In Peru Is Called Oldest City In Americas, Henry Fountain, NYTimes, 01/04/27
Summary: New dates from an archaeological team working at the sprawling inland site of Caral, some 200 kilometers north of Lima, push back the emergence of urban life and monumental architecture in the Americas by nearly 800 years--to 2627 B.C.--and cast serious doubt on one commonly held view of the relationships between inland and coastal centers in early Peru. But the research, reported on page 723, suggests an answer to the puzzle of why the desert sites became so prominent early on: Some were relatively easy to irrigate.
Excerpt: Radiocarbon dates from the site of Caral in the Supe Valley of Peru indicate that monumental corporate architecture, urban settlement, and irrigation agriculture began in the Americas by 4090 years before the present (…) to 3640 years before the present (…). Caral is located 23 kilometers inland from the Pacific coast and contains a central zone of monumental, residential, and nonresidential architecture covering an area of 65 hectares. Caral is one of 18 large preceramic sites in the Supe Valley.
- Dating Caral, A Preceramic Site In The Supe Valley On The Central Coast Of Peru, Ruth Shady Solis, Jonathan Haas, Winifred Creamer , Science, Volume 292, Number 5517, Issue of 27 Apr 2001, P. 723
- Cultural Responses To Climate Change During The Late Holocene, Peter B. Demenocal, Science 2001 April 27; 292(5517): P. 667-673
- The Shadow of Droughts' Deaths, Vaclav Smil, Science 2001 April 27; 292(5517): P. 644 , Science
- Book review of: Late Victorian Holocausts El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World, Mike Davis, Verso, London, 2001. 474 pp.
Excerpts: Large-scale climatic fluctuations, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), have been shown to affect many ecological processes. Such effects have been typically assumed to be linear. (…) Here we show that there is a strong nonlinear and non-monotonic (that is, reversed) effect of the NAO on body weight during the subsequent autumn for 23,838 individual wild red deer (Cervus elaphus) and 139,485 individual domestic sheep (Ovis aries) sampled over several decades on the west coast of Norway.
- Nonlinear Effects Of Large-Scale Climatic Variability On Wild And Domestic Herbivores, A Mysterud, N C Stenseth, N G Yoccoz, R Langvatn & G Steinheim, Nature 410, 1096 - 1099 (2001)
If the patterns documented here result in a reversal of the phase shift from macroalgae to corals (…), it would indicate that macroalgal dominance of Caribbean reefs is not an inevitable and terminal consequence of natural and anthropogenic disturbances.
- Recovery Of Diadema Antillarum Reduces Macroalgal Cover And Increases Abundance Of Juvenile Corals On A Caribbean Reef, Peter J. Edmunds and Robert C. Carpenter, PNAS, 2001;98 5067-5071
Excerpts: The distribution of entangled states between distant locations will be essential for the future large-scale realization of quantum communication schemes such as quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation. (…) Entanglement purification is thus essential to distil highly entangled states from less entangled ones. (…) Here we present a scheme for the entanglement purification of general mixed entangled states, which achieves 50 per cent of the success probability of schemes based on the CNOT operation, but requires only simple linear optical elements.
- Entanglement Purification For Quantum Communication, J-W Pan, C Simon, & Brukner & A Zeilinger
- Selective Bond Breaking with Strong Laser Fields, Science, Volume 292, Issue 5517, 01/04/27
- Keeping Reactions Under Quantum Control, Sean M. Hurley, A. Welford Castleman Jr. , Science Volume 292, Issue 5517, 01/04/27 P. 648
- Selective Bond Dissociation and Rearrangement with Optimally Tailored, Strong-Field Laser Pulses, Robert J. Levis, Getahun M. Menkir, Herschel Rabitz , Science, Volume 292, Issue 5517, 01/04/27 P. 709
Excerpt: A brain imaging study in the May issue of Nature Neuroscience confirms that people's brains are finely tuned to recognizing "musical syntax," just as they are for verbal grammar. What's more, they have found that some of this musical processing goes on in Broca's area, which is chiefly associated with language.
- How the Brain Understands Music, Constance Holden, Science Volume 292, Issue 5517, 01/04/27 P. 623
- How Our Brains Tell The Difference Between Music And Noise, New Scientist, 01/04/28
- Pitch Perception: A Dynamical-Systems Perspective, Julyan H. E. Cartwright, Diego L. Gonzalez, Oreste Piro, PNAS 2001;98 4855-4859
Excerpts: Because the retinal activity generated by a moving object cannot specify which of an infinite number of possible physical displacements underlies the stimulus, its real-world cause is necessarily uncertain. (…) Here we explore the hypothesis that the visual system solves this problem by a probabilistic strategy in which perceived motion is generated entirely according to the relative frequency of occurrence of the physical sources of the stimulus. (…) The velocities reported by observers in a variety of stimulus contexts can be accounted for in this way.
- A Wholly Empirical Explanation Of Perceived Motion, Zhiyong Yang, Amita Shimpi, and Dale Purves, PNAS 2001;98 5252-5257
In PET ( Positron Emission Technology) of fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance) task induced increase in regional brain activity during specific goal-orientated behavior are commonly observed by comparing between a specific experimental task and a control task. The difference between the two is considered to represent the brain activity that is associated with the process of interest. Task induced decreases in regional activity has also been observed even when the control task consists of lying quietly. But what does the resting brain activity represent? In the following paper a theory on 'baseline' state of the brain is proposed.
The authors have used PET to measure a variety of metabolic and circulation relationship between blood flow and oxygen consumption in the brain. They have formulated 'oxygen extraction factor' [OEF] that is the fraction of oxygen available to the brain to that used by the brain and cerebral blood flow [CBF] . Through measuring OEF, the authors propose to define the baseline state of the brain activity. OEF should indicate which area is deactivated during resting state. The deflection from the baseline state may be interpreted stimulus processing in the brain. In support of their claim, experimental data and images from subjects are given by the authors as 1) Maps of the fraction of oxygen extracted by the brain from arterial blood 2) Regions of the brain regularly observed to decrease their activity.
Excerpts: A baseline or control state is fundamental to the understanding of most complex systems. Defining a baseline state in the human brain, arguably our most complex system, poses a particular challenge. (…) All significant deviations from the mean hemisphere OEF were increases, signifying deactivations, and resided almost exclusively in the visual system. (…) These decreases suggest the existence of an organized, baseline default mode of brain function that is suspended during specific goal-directed behaviors.
Excerpts: A neural model suggests how horizontal and interlaminar connections in visual cortical areas V1 and V2 develop within a laminar cortical architecture and give rise to adult visual percepts. The model suggests how mechanisms that control cortical development in the infant lead to properties of adult cortical anatomy, neurophysiology and visual perception. The model clarifies how excitatory and inhibitory connections can develop stably by maintaining a balance between excitation and inhibition. (…) These balanced connections interact via intracortical and intercortical feedback to realize properties of perceptual grouping, attention and perceptual learning in the adult, and help to explain the observed variability in the number and temporal distribution of spikes emitted by cortical neurons.
- A Neural Model Of Perceptual Grouping And Learning, Cerebral Cortex, Jan 2001;11:37-58, Contributed by Atin Das
Excerpt: Russian scientists claim to have developed the first artificial brain, a "neuro-computer" with the same intellectual potential as its human counterpart, the Interfax news agency reported last weekend.The new Russian computer is based on the human brain cell, or neuron, and outstrips previous brain models by using state-of-the-art findings in neurophysiology and neuromorphology to produce a truly thinking machine, scientist Vitaly Valtsev said. But he warned of the potential hazards of the scientific breakthrough, saying the brand new brain could turn into a Frankenstein monster if mistreated. (...)
"Having correct models of neurons might be a necessary condition for simulating "the intellectual potential of human" but it is by far not sufficient. In fact, most mammals have the same general classes of neocortex neurons (ie. pyramidal, granule, chandelier, large/small basket, double bouquet, neurogliagorm cells, etc...) that we do. Thus, I hope he has made a great structural breakthrough in the design of his AI rather than simply replaced the neuron model."
Ben Houston, posting on Global Brain discussion list, 01/04/25
Editor's note: The background of this story is an example of rapid emergence of global information networks, triggered by a news story: Mason and picked up the story, Anton could verify independent links (besides the ones that all repeated the Interfax message), and Ben provided critical background information.
Other relevant URLs:
- Russia Hails Breakthrough In Building Artificial Brain, The Christian Science Monitor, 4/19/01, Contributed by Mason Porter
- Interfax Announcement (in Russian) 15.04.2001 10:56
- Conference Announcement
- Russians Create 'Artificial Human Brain', Earth Change News, 01/04/16
- Contributed by Mason Porter, with links provided by Anton Kolonin
- Rhesus Monkeys Know When They Remember, Robert R. Hampton, PNAS 2001;98 5359-5362
- Animals Know More Than We Used To Think, Donald R. Griffin, 2001;98 4833-4834 PNAS
"This work on barking is extremely careful and extremely important because it calls attention to the complex social life of dogs that we have barely begun to comprehend," said Dr. Marc Bekoff, an ethologist at the University of Colorado (...)
- What Do Those Barks Mean? Mark Derr, NYTimes, 01/04/24
Excerpts: (…)during sleep, the memory of newly learned information is stabilized (…) mediated by fluctuations in the activity of different neuromodulatory systems (e.g., noradrenergic, serotonergic, cholinergic) and in the levels of plasma glucocorticoids.
We have tracked the changes in neuronal responses that occur with learning in a real memory system (…). These changes are surprisingly nonlinear. Our findings present a challenge to current ideas concerning cellular mechanisms of memory, in particular those that assume that, through learning, the strength of synapses (…) increase monotonically to a stable asymptote.
- Tracking Memory's Trace,Gabriel Horn, Alister U. Nicol, and Malcolm W. Brown, PNAS 2001;98 5282-5287
Abstract: Whenever we open our eyes, we are confronted with an overwhelming amount of visual information. Covert attention allows us to select visual information at a cued location, without eye movements, and to grant such information priority in processing. Covert attention can be voluntarily allocated, to a given location according to goals, or involuntarily allocated, in a reflexive manner, to a cue that appears suddenly in the visual field. Covert attention improves discriminability in a wide variety of visual tasks. An important unresolved issue is whether covert attention can also speed the rate at which information is processed. To address this issue, it is necessary to obtain conjoint measures of the effects of covert attention on discriminability and rate of information processing. We used the response-signal speed-accuracy tradeoff (SAT) procedure to derive measures of how cueing a target location affects speed and accuracy in a visual search task. Here, we show that covert attention not only improves discriminability but also accelerates the rate of information processing.
- Covert Attention Accelerates The Rate Of Visual Information Processing, Marisa Carrasco, Brian Mcelree, PNAS 2001;98 5363-5367
Abstract: "May you live in interesting times" is an ancient Chinese curse that is taking on special meaning in the third millennium. Over the past decade we have seen the equivalent of the Cambrian explosion in the global economy. New technologies and organizational forms are evolving at an accelerating rate. Joseph Schumpeter's process of creative destruction is alive and well in the econosphere. In the 21st century, it will be crucial for analysts to devote an increasing portion of their research to understanding complex adaptive systems and non-conventional models. Those analysts that embrace what legendary investor Charlie Munger calls a "latticework of models" approach--that is, one that draws on the body of knowledge found in fields of study ranging from quantum physics, biology, computer science, economics, sociology, psychology--and other disciplines and abandon an intuitive linear/rational expectations view of the world are likely to prosper in the third millennium. Analysts who refuse to upgrade their wetware and internal models of the economy and markets may well end up getting blindsided by the future.
- Blindsided by the Future, Stephen R. Waite, Vitamin B
Abstract: (…) a small British company called Autonomy, whose founder wrote his doctoral thesis on Bayesian methods, sells software that helps computers intelligently sort through the vast amounts of information that large organizations now produce on any given day. (…)But once both data and beliefs enter the picture, the math can become stupefyingly complex. (…)The software, now being tested, combines facts about who has sent an e-mail message and the words it contains with information about a user's habits.
- Adding Art To The Rigor Of Statistical Science, David Leonhardt, NYTimes 01/04/28
- Life's Little Mysteries, Sandra Blakeslee, Science's Elusive Realm, NYTimes, April 24, 2001
- Universality And Diversity Of Protein Folding And Molecular Recognition Mechanisms, Chem.Phys.Let.Gennady M. Verkhivker , Paul A. Rejto, Djamal Bouzida, Sandra Arthurs, Anthony B. Colson, Stephan T. Freer, Daniel K. Gehlhaar, Veda Larson, Brock A. Luty, Tami Marrone And Peter W. Rose, Chemical Physics Letters 336 (5-6) (2001) PP. 495-503
Excerpts: Revolutions are born of adversity. Systemic change often proves impossible until a system proves itself unquestionably dysfunctional. Today, the system is broke. Our goal now is to chronicle the dangers to democracy that accompany today's de facto merger of political parties, particularly when both have geared their economic policies not to democratic principles and to the needs of future generations but to the peculiar appetites of Wall Street. What democracy most needs is a process that dignifies elections. A valid election must provide essential time for reflection, for voter education, and for media-induced consciousness raising and information sharing. The predictable result of the current rules is today's staged and restricted debates, with their minimal discussion and superficial analysis. Elections thereby become impressionistic and simplistic, as both policies and politicians come prepackaged, predictable, even typecast. In the case of the three overproduced 2000 presidential "debates," even the stage set was designed to suggest electoral legitimacy, right down to studios adorned with the trappings of high office (eagles, bunting, banners, etc.).
- Democracy at Risk: Rescuing Main Street from Wall Street. A Populist Vision for the Twenty-First Century , Jeff Gates , Tikkun Magazine, 01/04/09, Perseus Books 2000, contributed by Stephen Waite
The reasons vary, from a lack of cash to partisan positioning and difficulties in interpreting the United States Supreme Court decision that finally ended the presidential contest. Those studying how to overhaul the system have found that it is exceedingly complex.
Editor's question: What would it cost to modernize all voting machines, the dollar amount expressed in minutes of TV-campaign advertizing?
- Little Change Forecast For Election Process, Katharine Q. Seelye, NYTimes, 01/04/26
Excerpts: (…) complex questions computer games raise for players "can sometimes lead to profound forms of interaction. Even if two players are interacting through a crude medium and manipulating simple characters, sometimes that can serve to spark conversations about life as it's actually lived." (…)"Creating more complex and believable social interactions is one of our main focus areas," (…), the basic irony of the game - that players win points for virtual social prowess, while glued to their computer screens(…).
Excerpts: About a dozen person-to-person online payment services - from systems offered by Citibank and Western Union to a Web- based venture called PayPal - have emerged over the last year or so. They allow consumers to transfer money quickly online through their bank accounts or credit cards, (…)
"It's one of the fastest-growing Internet services out there," said Paul Jamieson, director of financial services at Gomez Advisors, a research firm based in Lincoln, Mass., that ranks e-commerce sites.
Editor's note: Money has emerged thousands of years ago as convenient "fitnes function" in human societies around the world. It is only natural that the reduced time-scales of global information exchange need to impact the time-scales of the corresponding incentives for transferring valued information. As soon as secure credit card transactions were available, the commercial use of the Internet has blossomed. The original idea of CyberCash was to facilitate rapid, small payments for information services over the web. But even today, it still is a major hassle to send, say, $25 to a place in India without the transaction cost being a major fraction of the transaction amount.
- Why Wait for That Money? Download It Instead, Barbara Whitaker , NYTimes, 01/04/29
- Internet 'Bad Boy' Takes On a New Challenge, John Schwartz, NYTimes 01/04/23: "The time had come to do something entirely different." That "entirely different" thing is a field of computer science Mr. Rutt stumbled into a few years ago: complex adaptive systems.
- Economist Is Honored For Use Of Psychology, Louis Uchitelle, NYTimes, 01/04/28: Mr. Rabin, 37, will receive the John Bates Clark medal (...). He is the first winner to openly embrace behavioral economics, which tries to incorporate psychology into standard economic theory.
- The Encyclopedia of Life Sciences is the most ambitious reference source ever produced in the biological sciences. Planned, written and edited by over 5,000 of the world's leading scientists ELS combines unrivalled authority with exceptional accessibility. Launched as a fully integrated web product in May 2001, ELS will comprise more than 3,000 articles and will feature sophisticated search functionality, personalisation features, over 30,000 cross-reference links, links to the primary literature and monthly updates.
- 4th European Conference on Genetic Programming (EuroGP2001), Como, Italy, 01/04/18-20
- Complex Systems Streaming Video and Archived Video, University of Alaska Anchorage Complex Systems Group
- Building Blocks, Genetic Algorithms, and Innovation, John Holland 01/04/27 18:00GMT
- Coherence, Complexity, and Jensen's Inequality, Michael Lissack , 01/05/10 18:00GMT
- SwarmFest 2001, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 01/04/28-30
- Can Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation (PAF) Be Predicted? PhysioNet and Computers in Cardiology 2001 challenge you to develop and evaluate a method for doing so, in CinC Challenge 2001, 01/05/01
- 5th Manufacturing Complexity Network Meeting: Supply Chains and q-analysis, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK, 01/05/03
- International Workshop "Patterns - Trends - Predictions", Delray Beach, Florida, USA, 01/05/09-12
- SFI Wkshp on Complexity - Unifying Themes for the Sciences and New Frontiers for Mathematics, MPI for Math in Sci, Leipzig, Germany, 01/05/14-18 (Limited Participation)
- Remaining Human In The Face Of Our Growing Dependence On Technology, U. British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada , 01/05/25-26
- Complex Systems and Art, NECSI/Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM, USA, 01/06/08
- 2nd Europ Interdisp School on Nonlin Dyn for Syst & Sig Anal , EUROATTRACTOR2001, Inst Biocyb & Biomed Eng, Polish Acad Sci, Warsaw, 01/06/19-28
- SFI Graduate Workshop in Computational Economics, Santa Fe, NM, 01/07/15-28 (Limited Participation)
- SFI Complex Systems Summer School, Santa Fe, NM, 01/06/10-07/07 (Limited Participation)
- The 3nd Symp. on Systems Res. in the Arts Music, Environmental Design, and the Choreography of Space, Baden-Baden, Germany, 01/07/30-08/04
- SFI Complex Systems Summer School, Budapest, Santa Fe, NM, 01/07/16-08/10 (Limited Participation)
- SFI Workshop on Poverty Traps," Santa Fe, NM, 01/07/20-22 (Limited Participation)
- Fractal Structures and Self-Organization, L'Habana, Cuba, 01/07/23-28
- Intl. Conf. DYNAMICAL NETWORKS IN COMPLEX SYSTEMS, Kiel, Germany, 01/07/25-27
- SFI Summer Workshop: Mathematical Models in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 01/07/29-08/10 (Limited Participation)
- 11th Annual International Conference The Society For Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences, Madison, WI, USA, 01/08/3-6
- 5th Intl Conf on COMPUTING ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS, Liege, Belgium, 01/08/13-18
- Artificial Life Models for Musical Applications, Workshop of the 6th European Conference on Artificial Life, Prague, Czech Republic, 01/09/09-14
- SFI Workshop on Economic Inequality and Economic Sustainability, Santa Fe, NM, 01/09/21-23 (Limited Participation)
- Frontiers in Social Sciences Simulations, Kazimierz Dolny, Poland, 01/09/21-23
- International Symposium on Technology, Economic and Social Applications of Distributed Intelligence (TESADI'01) at the 2001 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC'01), Tucson, Arizona, USA, 01/10/7-10
- Workshop On Interdisciplinary Studies And Complexity, National University of Mexico, 01/10/22-26
- 1st Asia-Pacific Conf On Web Intelligence, Maebashi TERRSA, Maebashi City, Japan, 01/10/23-26
- ComDig Contributing Editors Wanted: Due to the overwhelming success of Complexity Digest in both the academic and practioner communities we are in the fortunate situation to offer one or several positions of contributing editors especially in the areas of economic and business applications. Requirements are a solid background in complexity, reliable access to the Internet, and good editorial skills. Financial support could be available. Please send applications to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Chalmers University of Technology in Goteborg, Sweden, offers an international Master's program in complex adaptive systems starting in Sept. 2001