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Complexity Digest's Blog

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Collective clog control: Optimizing traffic flow in confined biological and robophysical excavation

August 25, 2018 Comments (0)

Groups of interacting active particles, insects, or humans can form clusters that hinder the goals of the collective; therefore, development of robust strategies for control of such clogs is essential, particularly in confined environments. Our biological and robophysical excavation experiments, supported by computational and theoretical models, reveal that digging performance can be robustly optimized within the constraints of narrow tunnels by individual idleness and retreating. Tools from...

Resilience of Complex Systems: State of the Art and Directions for Future Research

August 23, 2018 Comments (0)

This paper reviews the state of the art on the resilience of complex systems by embracing different research areas and using bibliometric tools. The aim is to identify the main intellectual communities and leading scholars and to synthesize key knowledge of each research area. We also carry out a comparison across the research areas, aimed at analyzing how resilience is approached in any field, how the topic evolved starting from the ecological field of study, and the level of...

Sequences of purchases in credit card data reveal lifestyles in urban populations

August 22, 2018 Comments (0)

Zipf-like distributions characterize a wide set of phenomena in physics, biology, economics, and social sciences. In human activities, Zipf’s law describes, for example, the frequency of appearance of words in a text or the purchase types in shopping patterns. In the latter, the uneven distribution of transaction types is bound with the temporal sequences of purchases of individual choices. In this work, we define a framework using a text compression technique on the sequences of credit...

Quantifying emergence and self-organisation of Enterobacter cloacae microbial communities

August 22, 2018 Comments (0)

From microbial communities to cancer cells, many such complex collectives embody emergent and self-organising behaviour. Such behaviour drives cells to develop composite features such as formation of aggregates or expression of specific genes as a result of cell-cell interactions within a cell population. Currently, we lack universal mathematical tools for analysing the collective behaviour of biological swarms. To address this, we propose a multifractal inspired framework to measure the degree...

Self-Optimization in Continuous-Time Recurrent Neural Networks

August 21, 2018 Comments (0)

A recent advance in complex adaptive systems has revealed a new unsupervised learning technique called self-modeling or self-optimization. Basically, a complex network that can form an associative memory of the state configurations of the attractors on which it converges will optimize its structure: it will spontaneously generalize over these typically suboptimal attractors and thereby also reinforce more optimal attractors—even if these better solutions are normally so hard to find that they...

An information-theoretic approach to self-organisation: Emergence of complex interdependencies in coupled dynamical systems

August 21, 2018 Comments (0)

Self-organisation lies at the core of fundamental but still unresolved scientific questions, and holds the promise of de-centralised paradigms crucial for future technological developments. While self-organising processes have been traditionally explained by the tendency of dynamical systems to evolve towards specific configurations, or attractors, we see self-organisation as a consequence of the interdependencies that those attractors induce. Building on this intuition, in this work we develop...

Complexity and Resilience in the Social and Ecological Sciences

August 21, 2018 Comments (0)

This book introduces a new approach to environmental sociology, by integrating complexity-informed social science, Marxian ecological theory, and resilience-based human ecology. It argues that sociologists have largely ignored developments in ecology which move beyond functionalist approaches to systems analysis, and as a result, environmental sociology has failed to capitalise not only on the analytical promise of resilience ecology, but on complementary developments in complexity theory. By...

A Methodology for Evaluating Algorithms That Calculate Social Influence in Complex Social Networks

August 20, 2018 Comments (0)

Online social networks are complex systems often involving millions or even billions of users. Understanding the dynamics of a social network requires analysing characteristics of the network (in its entirety) and the users (as individuals). This paper focuses on calculating user’s social influence, which depends on (i) the user’s positioning in the social network and (ii) interactions between the user and all other users in the social network. Given that data on all users in the social network...

Train Global, Test Local: Privacy-preserving Learning of Cost-effectiveness in Decentralized Systems

August 20, 2018 Comments (0)

The mandate of citizens for more socially responsible information systems that respect privacy and autonomy calls for a computational and storage decentral- ization. Crowd-sourced sensor networks monitor energy consumption and traffic jams. Distributed ledgers systems provide unprecedented opportunities to perform secure peer-to-peer transactions using blockchain. However, decentralized systems often show performance bottlenecks that undermine their broader adoption: prop- agating information...

“The Science of Success” Special Issue | Advances in Complex Systems

August 12, 2018 Comments (0)

The increasing availability of digital data on human activities has led to the emergence of computational social science, a research field at the interface of computer science, mathematical modeling and social sciences. Among the concepts that have attracted much attention, we find "success". The premise of a science of success rests on observing that a difference exists between performance and success: Performance, representing the totality of objectively measurable achievements in a...