Month: May 2019

Scientific discovery in a model-centric framework: Reproducibility, innovation, and epistemic diversity

Consistent confirmations obtained independently of each other lend credibility to a scientific result. We refer to results satisfying this consistency as reproducible and assume that reproducibility is a desirable property of scientific discovery. Yet seemingly science also progresses despite irreproducible results, indicating that the relationship between reproducibility and other desirable properties of scientific discovery is not well understood. These properties include early discovery of truth, persistence on truth once it is discovered, and time spent on truth in a long-term scientific inquiry. We build a mathematical model of scientific discovery that presents a viable framework to study its desirable properties including reproducibility. In this framework, we assume that scientists adopt a model-centric approach to discover the true model generating data in a stochastic process of scientific discovery. We analyze the properties of this process using Markov chain theory, Monte Carlo methods, and agent-based modeling. We show that the scientific process may not converge to truth even if scientific results are reproducible and that irreproducible results do not necessarily imply untrue results. The proportion of different research strategies represented in the scientific population, scientists’ choice of methodology, the complexity of truth, and the strength of signal contribute to this counter-intuitive finding. Important insights include that innovative research speeds up the discovery of scientific truth by facilitating the exploration of model space and epistemic diversity optimizes across desirable properties of scientific discovery.


Devezer B, Nardin LG, Baumgaertner B, Buzbas EO (2019) Scientific discovery in a model-centric framework: Reproducibility, innovation, and epistemic diversity. PLoS ONE 14(5): e0216125.


A Quantum Router for the Entangled Web

Qubit transmission protocols are presently point-to-point, and thus restrictive in their functionality. A quantum router is necessary for the quantum Internet to become a reality. We present a quantum router design based on teleportation, as well as mechanisms for entangled pair management. The prototype was validated using a quantum simulator.


A Quantum Router for the Entangled Web
Bernardo A. Huberman, Bob Lund


Scale-free networks revealed from finite-size scaling

Networks play a vital role in the development of predictive models of physical, biological, and social collective phenomena. A quite remarkable feature of many of these networks is that they are believed to be approximately scale free: the fraction of nodes with k incident links (the degree) follows a power law p(k)∝k−λ for sufficiently large degree k. The value of the exponent λ as well as deviations from power law scaling provide invaluable information on the mechanisms underlying the formation of the network such as small degree saturation, variations in the local fitness to compete for links, and high degree cutoffs owing to the finite size of the network. Indeed real networks are not infinitely large and the largest degree of any network cannot be larger than the number of nodes. Finite size scaling is a useful tool for analyzing deviations from power law behavior in the vicinity of a critical point in a physical system arising due to a finite correlation length. Here we show that despite the essential differences between networks and critical phenomena, finite size scaling provides a powerful framework for analyzing self-similarity and the scale free nature of empirical networks. We analyze about two hundred naturally occurring networks with distinct dynamical origins, and find that a large number of these follow the finite size scaling hypothesis without any self-tuning. Notably this is the case of biological protein interaction networks, technological computer and hyperlink networks and informational citation and lexical networks. Marked deviations appear in other examples, especially infrastructure and transportation networks, but also social, affiliation and annotation networks. Strikingly, the values of the scaling exponents are not independent but satisfy an approximate exponential relationship.


Scale-free networks revealed from finite-size scaling
Matteo Serafino, Giulio Cimini, Amos Maritan, Samir Suweis, Jayanth R. Banavar, Guido Caldarelli


Reconciling cooperation, biodiversity and stability in complex ecological communities

Empirical evidences show that ecosystems with high biodiversity can persist in time even in the presence of few types of resources and are more stable than low biodiverse communities. This evidence is contrasted by the conventional mathematical modeling, which predicts that the presence of many species and/or cooperative interactions are detrimental for ecological stability and persistence. Here we propose a modelling framework for population dynamics, which also include indirect cooperative interactions mediated by other species (e.g. habitat modification). We show that in the large system size limit, any number of species can coexist and stability increases as the number of species grows, if mediated cooperation is present, even in presence of exploitative or harmful interactions (e.g. antibiotics). Our theoretical approach thus shows that appropriate models of mediated cooperation naturally lead to a solution of the long-standing question about complexity-stability paradox and on how highly biodiverse communities can coexist.