Category: Books

A Guide to Temporal Networks

Network science offers a powerful language to represent and study complex systems composed of interacting elements from the Internet to social and biological systems. In its standard formulation, this framework relies on the assumption that the underlying topology is static, or changing very slowly as compared to dynamical processes taking place on it, e.g., epidemic spreading or navigation. Fuelled by the increasing availability of longitudinal networked data, recent empirical observations have shown that this assumption is not valid in a variety of situations. Instead, often the network itself presents rich temporal properties and new tools are required to properly describe and analyse their behaviour.A Guide to Temporal Networks presents recent theoretical and modelling progress in the emerging field of temporally varying networks, and provides connections between different areas of knowledge required to address this multi-disciplinary subject. After an introduction to key concepts on networks and stochastic dynamics, the authors guide the reader through a coherent selection of mathematical and computational tools for network dynamics. Perfect for students and professionals, this book is a gateway to an active field of research developing between the disciplines of applied mathematics, physics and computer science, with applications in others including social sciences, neuroscience and biology.


Chaos, Information Processing and Paradoxical Games: The Legacy of John S Nicolis

This volume provides a self-contained survey of the mechanisms presiding information processing and communication. The main thesis is that chaos and complexity are the basic ingredients allowing systems composed of interesting subunits to generate and process information and communicate in a meaningful way. Emphasis is placed on communication in the form of games and on the related issue of decision making under conditions of uncertainty. Biological, cognitive, physical, engineering and societal systems are approached from a unifying point of view, both analytically and by numerical simulation, using the methods of nonlinear dynamics and probability theory. Epistemological issues in connection with incompleteness and self-reference are also addressed.


Benoit Mandelbrot: A Life in Many Dimensions

This is a collection of articles, many written by people who worked with Mandelbrot, memorializing the remarkable breadth and depth of his work in science and the arts. Contributors include mathematicians, physicists, biologists, economists, and engineers, as expected; and also artists, musicians, teachers, an historian, an architect, a filmmaker, and a comic. Some articles are quite technical, others entirely descriptive. All include stories about Benoit.

Also included are chapters on fractals and music by Charles Wuorinen and by Harlan Brothers, on fractals and finance by Richard Hudson and by Christian Walter, on fractal invisibility cloaks by Nathan Cohen, and a personal reminiscence by Aliette Mandelbrot.

While he is known most widely for his work in mathematics and in finance, Benoit influenced almost every field of modern intellectual activity. No other book captures the breadth of all of Benoit’s accomplishments.


Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West

From one of the most influential scientists of our time, a dazzling exploration of the hidden laws that govern the life cycle of everything from plants and animals to the cities we live in.

Visionary physicist Geoffrey West is a pioneer in the field of complexity science, the science of emergent systems and networks. The term “complexity” can be misleading, however, because what makes West’s discoveries so beautiful is that he has found an underlying simplicity that unites the seemingly complex and diverse phenomena of living systems, including our bodies, our cities and our businesses.

Fascinated by aging and mortality, West applied the rigor of a physicist to the biological question of why we live as long as we do and no longer. The result was astonishing, and changed science: West found that despite the riotous diversity in mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other. If you know the size of a mammal, you can use scaling laws to learn everything from how much food it eats per day, what its heart-rate is, how long it will take to mature, its lifespan, and so on. Furthermore, the efficiency of the mammal’s circulatory systems scales up precisely based on weight: if you compare a mouse, a human and an elephant on a logarithmic graph, you find with every doubling of average weight, a species gets 25% more efficient—and lives 25% longer. Fundamentally, he has proven, the issue has to do with the fractal geometry of the networks that supply energy and remove waste from the organism’s body.

West’s work has been game-changing for biologists, but then he made the even bolder move of exploring his work’s applicability. Cities, too, are constellations of networks and laws of scalability relate with eerie precision to them. Recently, West has applied his revolutionary work to the business world. This investigation has led to powerful insights into why some companies thrive while others fail. The implications of these discoveries are far-reaching, and are just beginning to be explored. Scale is a thrilling scientific adventure story about the elemental natural laws that bind us together in simple but profound ways. Through the brilliant mind of Geoffrey West, we can envision how cities, companies and biological life alike are dancing to the same simple, powerful tune.