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Complexity Digest's Blog

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The gender gap in science: How long until women are equally represented?

May 14, 2018 Comments (0)

In most fields of science, medicine, and technology research, men comprise more than half of the workforce, particularly at senior levels. Most previous work has concluded that the gender gap is smaller today than it was in the past, giving the impression that there will soon be equal numbers of men and women researchers and that current initiatives to recruit and retain more women are working adequately. Here, we used computational methods to determine the numbers of men and women authors...

How the Father of Computer Science Decoded Nature’s Mysterious Patterns

May 12, 2018 Comments (0)

Many have heard of Alan Turing, the mathematician and logician who invented modern computing in 1935. They know Turing, the cryptologist who cracked the Nazi Enigma code, helped win World War II. And they remember Turing as a martyr for gay rights who, after being prosecuted and sentenced to chemical castration, committed suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide in 1954. But few have heard of Turing, the naturalist who explained patterns in nature with math. Nearly half a century after...

Efficient coding explains the universal law of generalization in human perception

May 12, 2018 Comments (0)

Perceptual generalization and discrimination are fundamental cognitive abilities. For example, if a bird eats a poisonous butterfly, it will learn to avoid preying on that species again by generalizing its past experience to new perceptual stimuli. In cognitive science, the “universal law of generalization” seeks to explain this ability and states that generalization between stimuli will follow an exponential function of their distance in “psychological space.” Here, I...

Academic performance and behavioral patterns

May 11, 2018 Comments (0)

Identifying the factors that influence academic performance is an essential part of educational research. Previous studies have documented the importance of personality traits, class attendance, and social network structure. Because most of these analyses were based on a single behavioral aspect and/or small sample sizes, there is currently no quantification of the interplay of these factors. Here, we study the academic performance among a cohort of 538 undergraduate students forming a single,...

The domino effect: an empirical exposition of systemic risk across project networks

May 11, 2018 Comments (0)

Activity network analysis is a widely used tool for managing project risk. Traditionally, this type of analysis is used to evaluate task criticality by assuming linear cause‐and‐effect phenomena, where the size of a local failure (e.g. task delay) dictates its possible global impact (e.g. project delay). Motivated by the question of whether activity networks are subject to non‐linear cause‐and‐effect phenomena, a computational framework is developed and applied to real‐world project data to...

Can co-location be used as a proxy for face-to-face contacts?

May 11, 2018 Comments (0)

Technological advances have led to a strong increase in the number of data collection efforts aimed at measuring co-presence of individuals at different spatial resolutions. It is however unclear how much co-presence data can inform us on actual face-to-face contacts, of particular interest to study the structure of a population in social groups or for use in data-driven models of information or epidemic spreading processes. Here, we address this issue by leveraging data sets containing high...

The New Urban Success: How Culture Pays

May 10, 2018 Comments (0)

Urban economists have put forward the idea that cities that are culturally interesting tend to attract “the creative class” and, as a result, end up being economically successful. Yet it is still unclear how economic and cultural dynamics mutually influence each other. By contrast, that has been extensively studied in the case of individuals. Over decades, the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu showed that people’s success and their positions in society mainly depend on how...

Uncovering inequality through multifractality of land prices: 1912 and contemporary Kyoto

May 9, 2018 Comments (0)

Multifractal analysis offers a number of advantages to measure spatial economic segregation and inequality, as it is free of categories and boundaries definition problems and is insensitive to some shape-preserving changes in the variable distribution. We use two datasets describing Kyoto land prices in 1912 and 2012 and derive city models from this data to show that multifractal analysis is suitable to describe the heterogeneity of land prices. We found in particular a sharp decrease in...

Emergent Behavior in Complex Systems Engineering: A Modeling and Simulation Approach

May 8, 2018 Comments (0)

A comprehensive text that reviews the methods and technologies that explore emergent behavior in complex systems engineering in multidisciplinary fields In Emergent Behavior in Complex Systems Engineering, the authors present the theoretical considerations and the tools required to enable the study of emergent behaviors in manmade systems. Information Technology is key to today’s modern world. Scientific theories introduced in the last five decades can now be realized with the latest...

Logic and connectivity jointly determine criticality in biological gene regulatory networks

May 8, 2018 Comments (0)

The complex dynamics of gene expression in living cells can be well-approximated using Boolean networks. The average sensitivity is a natural measure of stability in these systems: values below one indicate typically stable dynamics associated with an ordered phase, whereas values above one indicate chaotic dynamics. This yields a theoretically motivated adaptive advantage to being near the critical value of one, at the boundary between order and chaos. Here, we measure average sensitivity for...