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Complex Systems Summer School 2019-Projects & Working Groups

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Complex Systems Summer School 2019


Project and working group ideas go here.


Contents

What's in California's 480+ City Plans?

We will use Natural Language Processing to read 482 city and 58 county general plans for California. These are 400+ page documents that communities put together in order to set the course for developing housing, transportation systems, green space, conservation, etc. This dataset is exciting because no state has a database of city/county plans- and these plans govern land-use. California offers an interesting case because there are mountains, beaches, rural areas, agricultural areas, desert landscapes and the coast. Each landscape and population will require unique planning. We could use the dataset to answer a variety of questions. We could ask some simple questions with sentiment analysis (who wrote the happiest plans? Are rural areas the most disparaging in their plans- or are urban areas?) We could train a model on state recommendations for plans and see which plans fit (my hypothesis is that plans closest to Sacramento, the state capitol, fit the best). The take away would be that providing 'best practices' for planning is difficult because places and communities are so different in resources and objectives (eg. most rural areas do not want population growth, many urban areas measure success by population growth).. We could also take a topical approach. How much housing is each city/county planning to build in housing-stressed California? How do plans talk about fire prevention management (eg. in the context of housing? transportation? forest management?). How are communities planning for GHG reduction (with a focus mainly on air quality? A focus mainly on transportation? what about energy systems?)

Can we predict urban density based on scale and resource constraints?

With allometric scaling and resource constraints, we will try to model urban density based on fresh water availability. Our findings will have implications for sustainable development. This project patterns off of Kempes, C. P., West, G. B., Crowell, K., & Girvan, M. (2011). Predicting maximum tree heights and other traits from allometric scaling and resource limitations. PLoS One, 6(6), e20551.

This research demonstrates how cities grow in response to available natural resources. We propose a scalar law based on resource constraints to predict urban growth. Our research has policy implications for considering future sustainable urban growth in the context of fresh water scarcity. By using water use, urban population, total irrigated agricultural land, and available precipitation in watersheds, we are able to develop a scalar relationship to predict total water usage for total, nonelectric water use.


Interested Participants

  • Catherine Brinkley
  • Jessica Brumley
  • Gen Li
  • Ian Lim


Emergence of cooperative strategies by means of game warping, using network science

(From Shruti)

What if players can transform a noncooperative game to a cooperative positive-sum game? This is possible in certain digital economic systems (such as those on a blockchain) because all contracts are strictly enforceable. These type of "game-warping" transformations are interesting because given any economic model with pre-defined rules, the agents are able to develop unforeseeable cooperation strategies, form coalitions, and expand the scope of potential actions over time. Effectively, players are collectively able to overturn the system dynamics. The economy evolves because the economic rules effectively change w/ time (anyone play Baba Is You?). "Game warping" is defined as using transparent, triggerable, unstoppable punishments to move game-theoretic equilibria. We can extend this to multiple players and model the system using a graph/network, to explore what different cooperation strategies emerge. I trust that studying these systems at a macro-level, using simulations or networks will bring greatest degree of insight and set this research apart. David Wolpert's (SFI) work on "game mining" is also relevant. <ref>https://www.santafe.edu/news-center/news/wolpert-aaec-game-mining</ref>



Citations:

Research questions

  • What gaming strategies emerge when NxN intelligent agents interact in a system that allows game warping? How does the system evolve over time?
  • Agents are able to make Bayesian decisions whose vectors adapt as more historical information becomes available
  • How are sequential games played on a NxN level? Consider contingency trail using Level-K solution concept
  • Simulate an artificial economy with adaptive agents

Interested participants

  • Shruti
  • Aabir
  • Mikaela

Slack

Join #gamewarping channel.

Mathematical formalization of cryptoeconomics

(From Shruti)

Create the Maxwell's equations of cryptoeconomics. Cryptoeconomics is a very new field, alike economics but comes with special properties that traditional economic systems cannot achieve. It is fertile ground that requires a foundation (pun), developing fundamentals, and formalization. Non-exhaustive list of potential approaches: network science, adaptive agent-based simulations, systems modeling (bond graphs), hyperparametric optimization, control systems. I've been thinking about developing this foundation for a few months now, and I will express all these ideas in my SFI talk on Jun 21 - open invite to join the collective nerd out! This topic was also hotly discussed as being the next steps in moving the space of cryptonetworks forward, in today's CollectiveCrypto workshop @ SFI by Geoffrey West, Jessica Flack, David Krakauer, David Wolpert et al. We arrived at the conclusion that this type of research is highly valuable.

This is likely a mini-project, with an intent to publish a paper.

Interested participants

  • Shruti
  • Mikaela

How might we quantify non-monetary value exchanges (like gift giving)?

(From Shruti)

The current financial system doesn't incentivize corporations/individuals to take environmentally and socially positive actions (for the most part). There is no mechanism that accounts for non-monetary value exchanges in today's shareholder model of corporate governance. These exchanges range anywhere from simple gift-giving to a government agreeing to not dump their waste in Vietnam, India etc. Through this project, we want to explore generalizable means to account for currently unquantified (yet important) value exchanges. We're currently toying around with the idea of a human reputation market, we are aware it sounds dystopian and are open to ideas.

Interested participants

  • Shruti
  • Pavel
  • Ernest

Slack

Join #moralmoniezzz

Simulating evolution of bacterial cells’ decision to divide

(From Kunaal)

How do cells decide when is the right time to divide? From a purely efficiency-based perspective, cells can obtain nutrients at a rate proportional to their surface area, but nutrient requirement for growth has a rate proportional to volume of the cell. Thus, there will be a cell size that is optimum for division.

The problem with this reasoning is, cells will tend to divide at the same size on average, irrespective of their initial size. But we know that in most bacterial species, cells that start out small (large) tend to divide at a size smaller (larger) than the average size at division.

This indicates there is a different reason behind cells’ decision to divide. It is an optimal path chosen by evolution, and I intend to simulate cells susceptible to mutations under different conditions to understand how this division mechanism arises through evolution and why it is optimal.

Participants

  • Kunaal Joshi
  • Kazuya Horibe

Slack

Join #cell-division-sim on Slack if you are interested.


Modelling the spatial diffusion of human language

The diversification of human languages is a bit like speciation in biology: using comparative and cladistic methods, linguists can group languages into language families and further subgroup them into "phylogenetic" trees or networks. At the same time, we know where these languages are spoken today. The question, then: putting these two sources of data together, can we model the diffusion of languages over physical space and work backwards from the present day to infer the most likely homelands of the corresponding protolanguages? Can the predictions of such a model be made to align what we otherwise know about human migrations in the past? And most importantly (I think), from a complex systems perspective: what facets of the processes of linguistic diffusion and diversification are universal (i.e. not due to accidental historical events)? We could start with a simple random-walk model and take it from there. Slack channel is #language-diffusion.

Data

Papers to read

Group members

  • Henri
  • Kenzie Givens
  • Ritu
  • Harun
  • Pablo Flores

Future plans

This is (or can be, if we want) a somewhat ambitious project. I'd be happy to continue working towards a publication after CSSS.


Science Policy & Communication

How is information transferred from scientists to policymakers to constituents? How much information is lost in translation from scientific papers to news articles and tweets? This group will explore the (potential) information loss along each transition, along with other policy-based issues that will emerge from the interaction between scientists and policymakers.

Direct questions to John Malloy (Slack preferred)

Communication Channels

Slack channel: science-policy

Interested Participants (taken from Slack)

  • Andrew Gillreath-Brown
  • Chris Boyce-Jacino
  • Dakota Murrary
  • Jackie Brown
  • Mackenzie Johnson
  • Mikaela Akrenius
  • Aabir
  • Kyle Furlong
  • Patrick Steinmann
  • Ritu

Modeling and predicting food insecurity using a resilience lens

or Can complex systems help feed the hungry?

Slack channel: food-security

Over 800 million people are hungry today, and vulnerable to drought, floods and crop-disease driven by climate change. I’m interested in modeling the incidence of hunger as a dynamic, stochastic system using a resilience lens. Would like to see if we can predict the incidence of hunger in response to shocks using a neural net. Got some data to play with and open to exploring different models and predictive algorithms. If we get some promising results, we can showcase them to policymakers at USAID and the World Bank who are very interested in this space.

Participants

  • Erwin Knippenberg
  • Ludvig Holmér
  • Andrew Gillreath-Brown
  • Alexander Bakus
  • Pam Mantri
  • Dan Krofcheck
  • Fabian Dablander

Modeling Minecraft's Crafting Web

Map the web of natural resource use in Minecraft and its hierarchy of dependencies, including the potentially circular dependencies (ie you need spider silk to make a bow, which you can then use to kill spiders). Can then infer which resources are most used, their trophic level, and what tools are required to produce them.

Participants

  • Kate Wootton
  • Alexander Bakus
  • Chris Quarles
  • Patrick Steinmann
  • Erwin Knippenberg

Dynamics of Political Ideas in Social Networks

The landscape of political thought is constantly changing, and whenever a new idea or policy enters the public discourse people must form an opinion about it based upon their existing belief system and the opinions of others in their social network. Sometimes the public reaches a majority consensus about a given issue. Other times no consensus is formed, and the population is split into relatively stable ideological factions instead.

Our goal is to answer some/all of these questions:

  • When are people susceptible to adopting new ideas based upon their existing belief system?
  • How much easier is it for central nodes to spread ideas than nodes that are not connected to many others?
  • When does a minority belief become a majority consensus opinion, and when does a population split into opposing factions?
  • How does this model apply to real-world political opinion dynamics, possibly including polling data on same-sex marriage and climate change?

Participants

  • David Gier
  • Jackie Brown
  • Ludvig Holmér
  • Ernest Aigner
  • Robert Coulter
  • Kyle Furlong
  • Ritu Sugasree

Looking for resilient patterns in Conway's Game of Life

Resilience to environmental challenges is one of the hallmarks of life. The goal of this project would be to search for patterns in Conway's Game of Life that can cope with external perturbations and self-organize back into their original forms. Conway's Game of Life[1] is a cellular automaton that has raised a lot of attention due to the life-like forms that it generates. Cellular automata are computational models composed of a grid of cells that can be on either of two (or more) states. At every generation, each of these cells can change according to the state of their neighbours. Interestingly, Conway's Game of Life is Turing-complete, meaning that it can compute any computable function, including the Game of Life itself [2]. For this reason, one should expect to find a wide range of interesting patterns, including those that can detect external perturbations and repair themselves. By finding them, we would be providing a compelling example of one of life's key traits as an emergent behaviour in a simple computational environment.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouipbDkwHWA

[2] https://imgur.com/T1h2VVS

Participants

  • Alexander Schaefer
  • Dan Krofcheck
  • Kazuya Horibe
  • Arta Cika
  • Elissa Cohen
  • Luther Seet
  • Patrick Steinmann
  • Germán Kruszewski
  • Wenqian Yin

Analyzing Collaboration Throughout CSSS History

How has the nature of collaboration at CSSS changed over time? Using project and participant data from the last 20 years of the program, we plan to explore how topics and group structures have changed over time. Have groups become more interdisciplinary? Is there a pattern to the types of projects that individuals from particular fields tend to work on?

Participants

  • Dakota
  • Emily
  • Fabian
  • Jackie
  • Kyle

Multi-scale inequalities and cities

Increases in inequality and urbanization are two of the challenges facing global sustainable development. However, inequalities in the urban context are conventionally understood by analyzing one city at a time, which limits a multi-scalar understanding. This project proposes to investigate whether there are general patterns in how inequalities manifest across spatial scales and regional contexts and examine the relationships between urban networks and inequalities.

Participants

  • Bhartendu Pandey
  • Christopher Quarles
  • Alec Kirkley
  • Luther Seet
  • Ahyan Panjwani
  • Bhargav

Lingua Technica: The impact of technology on language

Technology and language are related—words like "delete", "reboot", and "reset" only became prominent in our language with the introduction of computing. In other cases, language adopts metaphors of technology such as in phrases like "I'm Dying", "I'm losing you", and "They act like a robot". In this project we will analyze the uptake of such terms in English language text over the past decades. We hope to assess the extent and speed to which technical metaphors are adopted in a variety of mediums. We We will begin with words relating to computing and extent to other technologies such as cars, medicine, and more.

Participants

  • Dakota Murray
  • Chris Joyce-Jacino
  • Doug Reckamp
  • Harun
  • Ignacio
  • Jeongki
  • John Malloy
  • Pablo Flores

Artificial fossilization of animal interaction networks

There has been a rapid increase in the number of papers applying network analysis to ancient communities, inferred from the fossil record. However, many of these studies don't account for the fact that the fossil record is incomplete. For example, most soft-bodied organisms don't preserve well. We hope to ground-truth investigations of past processes by analyzing how information loss affects the structure of modern interaction networks (co-occurrence, food webs, etc) and the inferences we make from them.

Participants

  • Emily Coco
  • Jack Shaw
  • Andrew Gillreath-Brown
  • Anshuman Swain
  • Kate Wootton
  • Dries Daems


CSSS Social Network Study

Investigating the structural and dynamical properties of the social network formed by participants in the CSSS, incorporating node-level metadata.

Participants

  • Alec Kirkley
  • Shihui Feng
  • Dr. Kenneth Hunter Wapman III, MD
  • Kate Wootton

Self organizing city

Exploring emergence and how a city can evolve and be shaped by social interactions. Planned cities and organically developed cities all have a network of public spaces. This looks at the use of agent based modelling and adaptive networks to study both the formation and resilience of public space networks in cities.

How do do public spaces and active functions of the city influence the flow of people?

Slack Channel: #selforganizing-city

Participants

  • Luther Seet
  • German Kruszewski
  • Chris Boyce-Jacino
  • Kazuya Horibe
  • Jackie Brown
  • Bhartendu Pandey
  • Ludwig Holmer

Are people good? Identify job preferences in career paths

Participants

  • Brennan
  • Ernest
  • Hunter


Complex movements and the City of Detroit

Participants

  • Ernest
  • Jackie
  • Trevis
  • Elissa


Too Much Information and Segregation

Every entity has a limited capacity to process information. So, when there is too much information, entities need to exclude information that does not benefit them. What happens when there are increases in the amount of information available, such as when technology allows a place-based society to transition to a more connected one? Individuals will have more options, and will also need to be more selective about the information they receive. Does this lead to increased segregation and/or specialization in a social system and/or biological system? We are approaching these questions using a network model, where nodes update their filters based on a utility function.

Participants

  • Christopher Quarles
  • Wenqian Yin
  • Jordi Piñero
  • Pablo Franco
  • Brennan

Intersections of Community-Engaged Research and Complex Systems Sciences

We are reviewing the existing literature to examine the intersections of community-engaged research and complex systems science research. Specifically, we are examining: (1) How is community-based research used in complex systems science? And (2) How is complex systems science used in community-based research?

Participants

  • Robert
  • Dee
  • Winnie
  • Travis
  • Jackie


Scrutinizing Early Warning Signals for Depression

Historically, depression has been understood within a 'common cause' framework in which the associations between symptoms such as worry, sadness, and lack of sleep is due to an underlying latent variable. This is an extremely successful approach in medicine, where symptoms usually are due to some underlying biological disease. In psychology, this has been less successful. An emerging 'network perspective' instead abandons the assumption of an underlying common cause and views depression as arising out of symptoms that directly influence each other, that is, as a complex system. There has been some work on 'early warning signals' which indicate 'tipping points', i.e., transitions to an alternative stable state. This project aims to extend and critically evaluate how these approaches have been applied to predict the onset and termination of depression.

Participants

  • Fabian
  • Toni
  • Andrea
  • Arta

Network Control

Once one discovers how the structure effects the function of a network, a possible next consideration is controllability of the network. For control to be possible, one must have a reliable map of the interactions occurring between nodes, a formulation of the dynamical equations governing the behavior of each node, and the capability to effect change in the behavior and state of some collection of the nodes. We will examine the roles that network topology and dynamical equations play in the context of network controllability. Our particular interest is in how noise induced on the network topology or dynamics will influence controllability. A few examples of systems relevant to this line of inquiry could include regulatory processes in cells or economies and the operation of power grids.

Participants

  • Billy Braasch
  • Alec Kirkley
  • Brennan Klein
  • Harun Šiljak

Culture fractals: Evidence for punctuated equilibria and other themes in a time series of online interaction

We are examining a 83M row social media dataset to better understand evolving human community interaction over the course of sixteen years (2001 - 2017 and ongoing). The forum is an old-fashioned message board with a hierarchical structure. Its unique characteristic is that as the discussion evolves, discussion topic areas are divided into new ones by human moderators. These label the new areas, thus giving the subareas meaning and shaping the future of the community discussion frames. Contrary to many social datasets in current use, there is no visible network structure in this dataset, because participants mostly are not registered nor do they have a network of friends.

The project this far has been a very hands-on process to learn how take a look into a natural dataset that is much larger than any of us is used to analyzing. We look forward to discuss the graphical presentation of the evolution in action, and to detect potential mechanisms and/or similarities with other known evolutionary processes. These discussions may lead to later co-operation.

Slack

#culture-fractal

Participants

  • Marjorie
  • Dries
  • Winnie

Topological diversity in complex networks

We are studying both the relationship between generative mechanisms and emergent topology of network ensembles and the diversity of topological properties within subsamples of networks. The aim is to probe for a new conceptual landscape for understanding complexity in network topologies. We hypothesise that network topologies derived from social and biological systems are characterised by an inability to infer the topology of one part of the network given knowledge of other parts, as opposed to random and ordered systems in which such inference is far easier.

Participants

  • Andrea
  • Anton
  • Keith
  • Travis
  • Xin
  • Yuka

Resilence and presilience in protein network structure

What happens when one introduces a novel piece of information to a semi structured system? Is the information purged, incorporated, or persist neutrally. There is a neat study of how networks seemingly become more redundant over time, specifically, the data describes protein interaction network across ~1800 species. Idea is to re-create this data and play around with it, ideally to check how the structure of the network may influence whether or not a new protein can be incorporated.

Why proteins? Mutations are the source of evolutionary novelty. Without evolutionary novelty, an organism will struggle to adapt to an alternating environment. Simultaneously, mutations are perceived to mostly be deleterious, causing negative fitness effects. Effectively, we are facing an evolutionary balance act between maintaining current functionality (selection against deleterious mutations), but also incorporating novelty (mutations, diversity) in order to stay opt in a constantly alternating environment. So, how can a systems incorporate novel information, without breaking the current functionality? You can think of proteins as a network of friends, and friends who introduce you to new friends. The practical nature of proteins, is that they have limited personality, thus they are easier to model. At least so we imagine.

Participants

  • April
  • Brennan
  • Keith
  • Ludvig
  • Laura
  • Mackenzie
  • Doug Reckamp
  • Anshuman Swain

Computational Synesthesia: A Multi-modal Approach to Automated Text Analysis

What data comprises the meaning of a word? Extant approaches to automated text analysis assume that the meaning of words can be inferred by examining co-occurrence relations (the bag-of-words approach) and formal semantic relationships among words (the linguistics approach). However, a large body of work illustrates that meaning is multimodal; i.e. words gain their meaning through their use in embodied multimodal contexts as labels that refer to “sensory images” – a property of meaning long known to artists, as in the use of visual imagery to inspire linguistically-mediated interpretations in the domain of painting, or in the use of words to evoke mental representations of sensory images in the domain of poetry. Here we propose a method for automated textual analysis that clusters words not based on text-to-text relations, but rather, in text-to-image relations, based on the structure of the sensory images associated with words. Specifically, we develop an automated approach for using large-scale search data from Google to retrieve a continuous set of images associated with search terms, and we provide information-theoretic measures for clustering search terms based on similarities in the color profile (such as ‘palette’) of . We explore how this clustering method can reveal novel dimensions of meaning previously unavailable through purely text-based methods of automated text analysis, for example, by finding unexpected similarities among search terms based on their color profile, or by providing novel measures for how abstract a word is based on the diversity of images associated with its use as a search term.

Participants

  • Douglas
  • Ethan
  • Mark
  • Aabir
  • Bhargav
  • Ruggiero

Expected Utility, Information, and Psychophysics

Slack channel: #information-utility

Project 1: Weighted Expectations

Description

Applying Valence-Weighted Distance (VWD), a novel probability weighting function developed by Mikaela, to a dynamic asset pricing model to explain emergent aggregate behavior.

Probability functions are applied in the context of non-expected utility theories to explain deviations of individual decision makers from the predictions of expected utility theory. A plethora of research has found that people tend to overweight small probabilities and underweight larger probabilities -- however, the psychological bases of this tendency remain unclear.

Grounded in psychophysics, VWD builds on information theoretic principles and aims to provide a psychological explanation for the shape and parameter fits of existing probability weighting functions (Tversky & Kahneman, Prelec, LinLog). In addition, VWD introduces novel (empirically testable) predictions, is sensitive to choice context, and has less free parameters than existing probability weighting functions.

Participants

  • Mikaela Akrenius
  • Elissa Cohen
  • Ahyan Panjwani
  • Arta Cika
  • Paula Parpart

Project 2: Concave Utility as Efficient Encoding

Analogously, it is well established within economics and psychology that the utility of money (or any other commodity) is concave -- i.e. that decision makers perceive the difference between e.g. $1 and $2 as greater than the difference between $101 and $102. The concavity of utility has been previously explained e.g. with outcome sampling and comparison in the choice environment (Stewart, 2009), the dissociation between large monetary outcomes and outcomes experienced in everyday life, and the notion of the human mind/brain as an efficient transduction system (e.g. Arkes, 1991; Summerfield & Tsetsos, 2015). As far as Mikaela knows, the latter notion has not yet been formally explored outside an experimental context, i.e. through simulating distributions of economic transactions in the actual environment in which decision makers tested in psychological or economic studies make their purchases.

Provisional idea

  • Get distributions of economic transactions in different societies
  • Simulate a decision maker that encodes monetary value optimally given the prevalence of transactions in that society
  • Compare shapes of resulting utility functions to existing empirical data (observed utility functions)

Participants

  • Mikaela Akrenius
  • Elissa Cohen
  • Paula Parpart

Perceptions of Aesthetic and Informational Content in Expert and Novice Judgments

Slack channel: #aesthetic-information

Provisional idea

  • Method: Ratings of bifurcation and state space diagrams varied in their aesthetic and informational properties
  • Goal: Assess differences in expert and novice perception
  • Subject pool: SFI CSSS 2019 (pilot)
  • Hypothesis and applications of results: ---

Participants

  • Mikaela Akrenius
  • Ethan Nadler
  • Mark Chu

Code Name: Leaf Hunters

Previous work has identified quantitative measurements of leaves such as persistent homology, machine learning (e.g. CNNs), and fractal dimensionality as a method to predict the phylogenetic origin of leaves (a classification task of whether the leaf belongs to the species or not). Although interesting, we find this work isn’t useful for building theoretical models of plants within their environments. It is an interesting question whether environmental complexity (however that is measured!) might have relationships to leaf complexity (however that is measured!). This analysis could be useful for developing knew understandings into how and why complexity emerges in plant evolution.

Participants

  • Levi Fussell
  • Anshuman Swain
  • Emily Coco

Toward an effective control of malaria in Ghana

Malaria is a vector-borne disease endemic to many countries in Africa as well as in Asia. This disease results from an interaction between Anopheles gambiae (mosquito), Plasmodium falciparum (parasite) and the human (host). Since Ross division of the host population in purely homogenous compartments, many variants of the model were used to get insights into the transmission and some strategy to control the disease. Thanks to such a simplistic representation of the epidemic, malaria control is remaining since 1950 a nightmare for policymakers since the disease is still persisting though numerous control measures were applied. This study aims at testing the dilution theory while accounting for the spatial repartition of the disease incidence using an adaptive ABM.

Participants

  • Savi Koissi
  • Jeongki Lim
  • Anshuman Swain
  • Bhartendu Pandey


Chaos in the Brain

Some of us are looking at chaos in the brain and how state-transitions in EEG waves may relate to learning/uncertainty-reduction/entropy. This refers to what Liz mentioned on day 1, where EEG waves of a healthy brain displayed a qualitative change in dynamics (bifurcation) when a parameter was changed, i.e., from *chaotic to more periodic*, under the influence of specific drugs. We also learned that the rabbit brain, when remembering a familiar smell as opposed to an unfamiliar smell, displayed a switch from chaotic to periodic attractor. We are asking the question of what other events may trigger a qualitative change in dynamics from chaotic to periodic, e.g., meditation, sleep or flow experiences, and what they have in common? The first step is to scan the literature.

Secondly, could it be that the above bifurcations in the brain correspond to human learning and reducing uncertainty in the sense of information theory, i.e., where a state of higher unfamiliarity and novelty corresponds to more chaotic states and familiarity to more periodic states? This is mostly speculation at this point

General relevant topics

  • Chaos in EEG ,
  • Complex system modelling in cognitive science
  • Chaos related to learning/search/reinforcement learning
  • Information theory and entropy in cognition

Participants

  • Pablo Franco
  • Paula Parpart
  • David Gier
  • Fabian Dablander
  • Levi Fussell
  • Mikaela Akrenius
  • Laura Stolp

Rules and Regulations

We are working to understand the dynamics of U.S. federal rulemaking over a period of 20 years using topic modeling and dynamical networks.

Participants

Adam Bhargav Andrea Elissa Hunter Brennan Aabir

Is Entropy Sexy? Quantifying the fitness effects of novelty in courtship displays

Description: We are interested in studying bird species with complex courtship displays to understand how the predictability of a display is correlated with mating success. Individual birds may vary the sequence or types of moves in a display to attract a mate. However, it is not known whether males with more or less predictable dances fare better. A given performance may be unpredictable with respect to the preceeding steps in the sequence or to a canonical performance that forms the basis for most displays in that species. Using Shannon entropy, we will develop a measure of surprise (within a sequence) and novelty (relative to canonical sequence) in courtship displays and apply it to a dataset of annotated performances where the subsequent mating success of performers is known. By characterizing the role of unpredictability in courtship displays, we hope to shed light on the cognitive and aesthetic dimensions of mate choice.

Slack channel: #courtship-entropy

Participants

  • Kenzie
  • Henri
  • Pablo
  • Ritu

Suggested Reading

Vanderbilt, C. C., Kelley, J. P., & DuVal, E. H. (2015). Variation in the performance of cross-contextual displays suggests selection on dual-male phenotypes in a lekking bird. Animal Behaviour, 107, 213–219. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.06.023


The Perfect Door: Design by Complexity Science

Description: Push or Pull? A perennial question in the design world, tackled by a combination of design research and complex system methodologies.

Slack channel: #the-perfect-door

Participants

  • Jeongki Lim
  • Kenzie Givens
  • Luther Seet


Sci-Fi ABM-thology

Description: An anothology of popular science fictions, explored in Agent-Based Models. How to start a rebellion in the total surveillance society of Orwell's 1984? Is it a case for an agent-based model, or maybe a network, or a cellular automaton? Could an emergent strategy bring down the Death Star? What made the Battle of Winterfell so wrong? This project investigates the great narratives of fiction and fantasy through complex systems modelling.

Slack channel: #sci-fi-abm

Participants

  • Andrew
  • Harun
  • Jeongki
  • Levi

The individual lives of microbial cells: evolution of phenotypic diversity in a bacterial population

Description: Scientists tend to appreciate microbes for their simplicity and predictability: if you put a population of genetically identical cells in a uniform environment, we assume they will all behave in the same way. However, in many cases this assumption is catastrophically wrong. We're frequently discovering new examples of clonal microbial populations that show diversity in a particular phenotype-- say, growth rate, substrate preference, or antibiotic tolerance-- in a way that is seemingly stochastic (not a case of plasticity in response to the environment). In some cases, this diversity may simply be noise with little consequence for the ecology of the population. In others, it seems to be an evolved trait, often in response to environmental stress, that confers increased fitness on the population as a whole even if some individuals are not behaving in an optimal way. How does phenotypic heterogeneity evolve? In what environments is it advantageous for all cells to behave the same way, and in what environments is diversity beneficial? How does the nature of the environmental stress influence the shape of the phenotypic distribution that will evolve? Can we call it "bet-hedging" or "division of labor"? We are using agent-based modeling to explore these questions-- focusing first on the example of bacterial colonies growing in the face of antibiotic stress, but with the aim of building a generalizable model that can draw connections among different types of organisms and environments.

Slack channel: #micro-pop-modeling

Participants

  • Jessica Lee
  • Kirtus Leyba
  • Adam Reynolds
  • Pam Mantri
  • Ritwika VPS
  • Daniel Borrero

HTG Robot Swarm:

This project explores the possibility of using inspirations of biology to train and evolve swarms of robots to do useful tasks. We are particularly taking advantage of horizontal gene transfer (HTG) that allows microbial populations to adapt without neccessarily reproducing or mutating in the traditional sense. We are interested in the question of how biological processes can be simulated in a static size robot population that cannot grow, die, or reproduce.

Participants:

  • Levi Fussell
  • Mackenzie Johnson
  • Jessica Lee
  • Kirtus Leyba
  • Anshuman Swain

Emergent Chemical Order from a Complex Adaptive & Stigmergic/Graph-Theoretic Perspective

This project explores some of the ways that Stigmergic Graph Theory could help answer some of the perennial ordering issues situated at the chemical stratum of life's origin.

Slack channel: #chem-evo-net

Participants:

  • Pam Mantri


How does resource availability and usage affect cooperation?

This project aims at exploring the possible relationship between resource availability as a gradient from low to high and see how that affects cooperation in both social and biological sciences.

Participants

  • Anshuman
  • Dries
  • Marjorie
  • Ruggerio
  • Kirtus
  • Ian
  • Billy
  • Kunaal

Lilliput effect

After every mass extinction event there is a reduction in the body size of animals before recovery. How can we explain this from first principles?

Participants

Anshuman Jack Yuka Jordi

Evaluating Two Mechanisms for the Evolution of Social Complexity

Theorists from Herbert Spencer to Brian Arthur assert that evolution drives an upward spiral of complexity, but the devil's in the details. How, exactly, does this process work? Presumably, multiple mechanisms operate and their relative importance varies from system to system. Focusing on a single type of systems, viz. social systems, this project aims to assess two competing accounts of the social evolution of complexity. Both hypotheses posit a feedback process by which group selection determines basic cultural/social features (see diagram). One camp, call them `pure cultural evolutionists', identifies the primary link as that between group functionality and social-moral rules. By contrast, a second group, `gene-culture evolutionists', asserts that the most important feedback links group functionality with the human genome. These theories are compatible, even complementary, but a question remains as to which provides a better explanation of the recent, massive increase in social complexity. To compare these two processes, we draw on a recently compiled composite measure of social complexity (whitehouse et. al.) as well as data on the evolution of the human genome and the evolution of social norms. We hypothesize that gene-culture evolution is far too slow to adequately explain the rapid and massive increase in social complexity, while pure cultural evolution provides a more satisfying account.

Cultural Evolution as a Feedback Process



Citations:


Interested participants

  • Alexander
  • Marjorie
  • Ignacio
  • Dries
  • Kazuya
  • Ritu (?)

Slack

Join #complex-societies channel.

From metaphors to models. How different modes of thought influence scientific research

This project is a discussion group on how we as scientists use different modes of interpretation to draw inferences/conclusions in our research. Basically, in our work, we always use a continuum of frameworks of interpretation, ranging from very general metaphors for system dynamics and changes, to very formal mathematical models describing a very specific process or state. Some of the things we would like to explore further include how these modes of interpretation can be connected, and how we could translate general metaphors into specific models, as well as how using specific modes impact the way we construct knowledge and interpretation.

Interested participants

  • Dries
  • Doug Reckamp
  • Jackie
  • Ethan

HebbWeb

Can opinion dynamics be explained by processes such as Hebbian learning.

Interested participants

  • Pasha
  • Chiara
  • Levi
  • Xin
  • Billy

Housing Market ABM

Can we build a multi-metro area housing market model to study the financial crisis?

Interested participants

  • John
  • Ahyan
  • Ian

The Parking Lot

The Time Traveler's Tree: What Did Sci-Fi Writers want?

Throughout the 20th century, science fiction writers were busy imagining possible futures, using advanced scientific and technological concepts as a vehicle for their thoughts about the present and the future of the human race. When did we start talking about flying cars, when did we foreshadow the invention of waterbeds (Heinlein did it!) and where do the branches of the fictional tree loop into the branches of the real technological tree of the 20th and 21st century? We explore this by creating a dataset of fundamental scientific and technological ideas appearing in sci-fi classics of our time, primarily novels that have won the Hugo or Nebula award.

This project is in the parking lot right now, but the crowdsourcing of the relevant content continues at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VFrliaTTr2PuURJ7dnJma5iK0zVgPZSzM7NQ5JTPiUk/edit#gid=0 .

Participants

  • Harun Siljak
  • Levi Fussell
  • John Malloy
  • Doug Reckamp

Network dynamics of river systems

Rivers are the arteries of our planet. They cycle nutrients, fluids, and materials over the Earth system, shaping and maintaining a habitable environment that supports life. The phenomenal branching structures of river systems make them ideal objects for network science studies, yet limited communications have been made between the two fields. In this project, geologist Gen, teaming up with network Guru Brennan and Alec (not a network guru), work to unravel the mystery behind the rivers. Aiming at a fundamental understanding of the dynamic nature of rivers, they will tackle the river system from a network science angle, seeking order in the complexity of real-world landscapes.

Participants

'The Riverfolk' aka

  • Gen
  • Brennan
  • Alec

Taming the Complex via Concept Mapping

While complexity has predominantly been studied as an inherent aspect of nature, it could also present itself as an epistemological transient. This project surveys Prof. Novak's Concept Mapping approach [1] as an epistemological means towards taming complexity. Concept Mapping may also viewed from a Complex Adaptive Systems framework.

Participants

Pam Dee Wenqian

Paradigmatic Relations

How 2 work better in interdisciplinary settings! Yuka and Mark will share ten easy tips!

Participants

Yuka! Mark!

Computational Social Science in Decision-Making: an Opioid Epidemic Case-Study

Project write-up from Slack: As a part of my (Kyle Furlong) work, I’ve been developing a tool/application that uses computational social science/agent-based modeling to help decision-makers make better data-driven decisions. I’m using the opioid epidemic as a “case study” for this tool. Using NetLogo and R (RShiny), the tool allows the user to explore the multiple social science theories that describe addiction and perform what-if analyses to determine which public policies/programs might be most effective in reducing negative outcomes (overdoses, deaths, etc).

I’ve got an early prototype UI/code (pictured below) running and have built in some basic theories of addiction that I’ve pulled from the literature, but I’d love to collaborate with anyone who is interested in the topic (addiction, drug use, public health), the methods (NetLogo/ABMs, social networks), and/or the approach. Open to informal coffee/not coffee drinking groups to crowd-source on a conceptual level or more technical groups working to improve my admittedly unrefined addiction models.

Communication Channels

Slack Channel: #compsocialsci-opioids

Meeting Schedule & Notes

Initial Meeting: 6/19/2019

Brainstormed directions for the project, where to extend it, and saw a brief demo of the current model.

Meeting 2: 6/24/2019

Continued targeted brainstorming efforts on impact of specific policies in the model w/r/t their impact on the transition probabilities. Team members selected specific policies to research in the literature to better inform the transition probabilities. Robert will be looking into the effectiveness of MAT, Pablo will be looking into a better implementation of the PDMP policy, David will be looking into Naloxone distribution effectiveness (e.g. via availability in social network), and Kyle will work on the ABM/NetLogo modeling of these parameters as well as continued development on the application interface.

Deadline for literature review of policy effectiveness: Friday, June 28 13:00.

Scheduled check-in meeting for Wednesday, June 26 17:10.

Participants

Shamelessly pulled from the whiteboard after the project brainstorming session on 6/13/2019:

  • Robert Coulter
  • Xin Ran
  • Pablo Franco
  • David Gier
  • Kyle Furlong
  • Pam Mantri


Chaotic Image Encoding

I was (like most folks) really stoked on the ability of chaotic mapping (e.g., Darbby's example) to introduce some seemingly random patterns to some series that preserves a bit of the 'flavor' of the original. I like simple images and pixel art / animations -- in that spirit, I want to employ similar approaches to investigate how we can use chaotic attractors to manipulate images. Specifically, many processes that we see in the natural world are beautiful yet complicated to recreate in faithful ways - as an example, reflections of light on the surface of a fluid, or the dynamics of flames in a fire.


Participants

  • Dan Krofcheck
  • Ludvig Holmér