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Complexity Digest's Blog

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The age of the megacity

November 25, 2011 Comments (0)

(…) we remain largely ignorant of what cities really are. The good news is that enormous enthusiasm and effort has started to pour into issues of urban security, sustainability and prosperity, and that a new breed of data-driven, interdisciplinary research into cities is emerging. One such example is Living in the Endless City, a polyphonic collection of essays that examine issues such as...
Nature Geoscience

Evolutionary Time Travel

November 25, 2011 Comments (0)

With clever and challenging lab experiments, researchers are forcing species to become multicellular, develop new energy sources, and start having...
Science

Division of labour and the evolution of multicellularity

November 25, 2011 Comments (0)

Understanding the emergence and evolution of multicellularity and cellular differentiation is a core problem in biology. We develop a quantitative model that shows that a multicellular form emerges from genetically identical unicellular ancestors when the compartmentalization of poorly compatible physiological processes into component cells of an aggregate produces a fitness advantage....
arXiv

Environmental effects of information and communications technologies

November 25, 2011 Comments (0)

The digital revolution affects the environment on several levels. Most directly, information and communications technology (ICT) has environmental impacts through the manufacturing, operation and disposal of devices and network equipment, but it also provides ways to mitigate energy use, for example through smart buildings and teleworking. At a broader system level, ICTs influence economic growth...
Nature

Peer-review in a world with rational scientists: Toward selection of the average

November 25, 2011 Comments (0)

It is widely believed that one of the virtues of peer review is that it provides a self-regulating selection mechanism for scientific work, papers and projects. Peer review as a selection mechanism is hard to evaluate in terms of its efficiency. Serious efforts to understand its strengths and weaknesses have not yet lead to conclusive answers. In theory peer review works if the involved parties...
Eur. Phys. J. B

Image characterization and classification by physical complexity

November 25, 2011 Comments (0)

We present a method for estimating the complexity of an image based on Bennett's concept of logical depth. Bennett identified logical depth as the appropriate measure of organized complexity, and hence as being better suited to the evaluation of the complexity of objects in the physical world. Its use results in a different, and in some sense a finer characterization than is obtained through the...
Complexity

Natural Complexity, Computational Complexity and Depth

November 25, 2011 Comments (0)

Depth is a complexity measure for natural systems of the kind studied in statistical physics and is defined in terms of computational complexity. Depth quantifies the length of the shortest parallel computation required to construct a typical system state or history starting from simple initial conditions. The properties of depth are discussed and it is compared to other complexity measures....
arXiv

Rational Choice, Context Dependence, and the Value of Information in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

November 25, 2011 Comments (0)

Both human and nonhuman decision-makers can deviate from optimal choice by making context-dependent choices. Because ignoring context information can be beneficial, this is called a “less-is-more effect.” The fact that organisms are so sensitive to the context is thus paradoxical and calls for the inclusion of an ecological perspective. In an experiment with starlings, adding cues that...
Science

Collective Animal Behavior from Bayesian Estimation and Probability Matching

November 25, 2011 Comments (0)

Animals need to act on uncertain data and with limited cognitive abilities to survive. It is well known that our sensory and sensorimotor processing uses probabilistic estimation as a means to counteract these limitations. Indeed, the way animals learn, forage or select mates is well explained by probabilistic estimation. Social animals have an interesting new opportunity since the behavior of...
PLoS Comput Biol

Memristive excitable cellular automata

November 25, 2011 Comments (0)

The memristor is a device whose resistance changes depending on the polarity and magnitude of a voltage applied to the device's terminals. We design a minimalistic model of a regular network of memristors using structurally-dynamic cellular...
arXiv