Month: July 2017

ITMO University Professorship Program

This program is aimed at strengthening the internationalization of the educational experience for scholars, students and the University.

Professorship extends to a variety of fields (link to chairs) and is open to highly qualified professionals who hold a doctorate degree and are affiliated with World’s Top Universities.

From lecturing the curriculum of double degree programs to presenting short-term courses, there’s variety of opportunities to contribute to topical expertise and cutting-edge teaching methods.

International professors can expect a student-oriented learning environment with an emphasis on real-world, global experience. They will also enjoy personal attention of ITMO University’s Foreign Students and Scholars Office that not only will help professors and their families to smoothly relocate, but also make the best out of their time in St. Petersburg.


ITMO University Fellowship Program

ITMO University Fellowship program aims to provide outstanding researchers and scientists, who are, or have the potential to become, leaders in their chosen fields, with the opportunity to build an independent research career. Our intention is to help to develop next generation of researchers with the greatest potential in their postdoctoral and early career stages.


Large-scale physical activity data reveal worldwide activity inequality

To be able to curb the global pandemic of physical inactivity and the associated 5.3 million deaths per year, we need to understand the basic principles that govern physical activity. However, there is a lack of large-scale measurements of physical activity patterns across free-living populations worldwide. Here we leverage the wide usage of smartphones with built-in accelerometry to measure physical activity at the global scale. We study a dataset consisting of 68 million days of physical activity for 717,527 people, giving us a window into activity in 111 countries across the globe. We find inequality in how activity is distributed within countries and that this inequality is a better predictor of obesity prevalence in the population than average activity volume. Reduced activity in females contributes to a large portion of the observed activity inequality. Aspects of the built environment, such as the walkability of a city, are associated with a smaller gender gap in activity and lower activity inequality. In more walkable cities, activity is greater throughout the day and throughout the week, across age, gender, and body mass index (BMI) groups, with the greatest increases in activity found for females. Our findings have implications for global public health policy and urban planning and highlight the role of activity inequality and the built environment in improving physical activity and health

Large-scale physical activity data reveal worldwide activity inequality
Tim Althoff, Rok Sosič, Jennifer L. Hicks, Abby C. King, Scott L. Delp & Jure Leskovec
Nature 547, 336–339 (20 July 2017) doi:10.1038/nature23018


Contagious disruptions and complexity traps in economic development

Poor economies not only produce less; they typically produce things that involve fewer inputs and fewer intermediate steps. Yet the supply chains of poor countries face more frequent disruptions—delivery failures, faulty parts, delays, power outages, theft, government failures—that systematically thwart the production process. To understand how these disruptions affect economic development, we model an evolving input–output network in which disruptions spread contagiously among optimizing agents. The key finding is that a poverty trap can emerge: agents adapt to frequent disruptions by producing simpler, less valuable goods, yet disruptions persist. Growing out of poverty requires that agents invest in buffers to disruptions. These buffers rise and then fall as the economy produces more complex goods, a prediction consistent with global patterns of input inventories. Large jumps in economic complexity can backfire. This result suggests why “big push” policies can fail, and it underscores the importance of reliability and of gradual increases in technological complexity.


Contagious disruptions and complexity traps in economic development
Charles D. Brummitt, Kenan Huremovic, Paolo Pin, Matthew H. Bonds, Fernando Vega-Redondo


A general scaling law reveals why the largest animals are not the fastest

Speed is the fundamental constraint on animal movement, yet there is no general consensus on the determinants of maximum speed itself. Here, we provide a general scaling model of maximum speed with body mass, which holds across locomotion modes, ecosystem types and taxonomic groups. In contrast to traditional power-law scaling, we predict a hump-shaped relationship resulting from a finite acceleration time for animals, which explains why the largest animals are not the fastest. This model is strongly supported by extensive empirical data (474 species, with body masses ranging from 30 μg to 100 tonnes) from terrestrial as well as aquatic ecosystems. Our approach unravels a fundamental constraint on the upper limit of animal movement, thus enabling a better understanding of realized movement patterns in nature and their multifold ecological consequences.


A general scaling law reveals why the largest animals are not the fastest
Myriam R. Hirt, Walter Jetz, Björn C. Rall & Ulrich Brose
Nature Ecology & Evolution 1, 1116–1122 (2017)