The outbreak of epidemics, the rise of religious radicalization or the motivational influence of fellow students in classrooms are some of the issues that can be described as diffusion processes in heterogeneous groups. Understanding the role that interaction patterns between groups (e.g. homophily or segregation) play in the diffusion of certain traits or behaviours is a major challenge for contemporary societies. Here, we study the impact on diffusion processes of mixing (or, alternatively, segregating) two groups that present different sensitivities or propensities to contagion. We find non-monotonic effects of mixing and inefficient segregation levels, i.e. situations where a change in the mixing level can benefit both groups, e.g. where an increase in the mixing level can reduce the expected contagion levels in both groups. These findings can have fundamental consequences for the design of inclusion policies.
Mixing and diffusion in a two-type population
Segismundo S. Izquierdo, Luis R. Izquierdo, Dunia López-Pintado
Royal Society Open Science
Published 21 February 2018.DOI: 10.1098/rsos.172102
The recent dramatic increase in online data availability has allowed researchers to explore human culture with unprecedented detail, such as the growth and diversification of language. In particular, it provides statistical tools to explore whether word use is similar across languages, and if so, whether these generic features appear at different scales of language structure. Here we use the Google Books N-grams dataset to analyze the temporal evolution of word usage in several languages. We apply measures proposed recently to study rank dynamics, such as the diversity of N-grams in a given rank, the probability that an N-gram changes rank between successive time intervals, the rank entropy, and the rank complexity. Using different methods, results show that there are generic properties for different languages at different scales, such as a core of words necessary to minimally understand a language. We also propose a null model to explore the relevance of linguistic structure across multiple scales, concluding that N-gram statistics cannot be reduced to word statistics. We expect our results to be useful in improving text prediction algorithms, as well as in shedding light on the large-scale features of language use, beyond linguistic and cultural differences across human populations.
Rank dynamics of word usage at multiple scales
José A. Morales, Ewan Colman, Sergio Sánchez, Fernanda Sánchez-Puig, Carlos Pineda, Gerardo Iñiguez, Germinal Cocho, Jorge Flores, Carlos Gershenson
Understanding the importance of links in transmitting information in a network can provide ways to hinder or postpone ongoing dynamical phenomena like the spreading of epidemic or the diffusion of information. In this work, we propose a new measure based on stochastic diffusion processes, the transmission centrality, that captures the importance of links by estimating the average number of nodes to whom they transfer information during a global spreading diffusion process. We propose a simple algorithmic solution to compute transmission centrality and to approximate it in very large networks at low computational cost. Finally we apply transmission centrality in the identification of weak ties in three large empirical social networks, showing that this metric outperforms other centrality measures in identifying links that drive spreading processes in a social network.
Link transmission centrality in large-scale social networks
Qian Zhang, Márton Karsai, Alessandro Vespignani
In both social systems and ecosystems there is a need to resolve potential conflicts between the interests of individuals and the collective interest of the community. The collective interests need to survive the turbulent dynamics of social and ecological interactions. To see how different systems with different sets of interactions have different degrees of robustness, we need to look at their different contingent histories. We analyze abstract artificial life models of such systems, and note that some prominent examples rely on explicitly ahistorical frameworks; we point out where analyses that ignore a contingent historical context can be fatally flawed. The mathematical foundations of Gaia theory are presented in a form whose very basic and general assumptions point to wide applicability across complex dynamical systems. This highlights surprising connections between robustness and accumulated contingent happenstance, regardless of whether Darwinian evolution is or is not implicated. Real-life studies highlight the role of history, and artificial life studies should do likewise.
Robustness and Contingent History: From Prisoner’s Dilemma to Gaia Theory
Volume 24 | Issue 1 | Winter 2018
Quantum phenomena are notoriously difficult to grasp. The present paper first reviews the most important quantum concepts in a non-technical matter: superposition, uncertainty, collapse of the wave function, entanglement and non-locality. It then tries to clarify these concepts by examining their analogues in complex, self-organizing systems. These include bifurcations, attractors, emergent constraints, order parameters and non-local correlations. They are illustrated with concrete examples that include Rayleigh-Bénard convection, social self-organization and Gestalt perception of ambiguous figures. In both cases, quantum and self-organizing, the core process appears to be a symmetry breaking that irreversibly and unpredictably “collapses” an ambiguous state into one of a number of initially equivalent “eigenstates” or “attractors”. Some speculations are proposed about the non-linear amplification of quantum fluctuations of the vacuum being ultimately responsible for such symmetry breaking.
Entanglement, symmetry breaking and collapse: correspondences between quantum and self-organizing dynamics
ECCO Working paper, 2018-03, draft submitted for: Foundations of Science