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  • April 14, 2014
  • 01:22 PM

Right-Sizing U.S. Electrical Grid Could Reduce Blackout Risk

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

David Newman, a physicist at the University of Alaska, believes that smaller grids would reduce the likelihood of severe outages, such as the 2003 Northeast blackout that cut power to 50 million people in the United States and Canada for up to two days.... Read more »

Carreras, B., Newman, D., & Dobson, I. (2014) Does size matter?. Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, 24(2), 23104. DOI: 10.1063/1.4868393  

  • April 13, 2014
  • 11:45 PM

Big data, prediction, and scientism in the social sciences

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Much of my undergrad was spent studying physics, and although I still think that a physics background is great for a theorists in any field, there are some downsides. For example, I used to make jokes like: “soft isn’t the opposite of hard sciences, easy is.” Thankfully, over the years I have started to slowly […]... Read more »

Lazer, D., Kennedy, R., King, G., & Vespignani, A. (2014) Big data. The parable of Google Flu: traps in big data analysis. Science, 343(6176), 1203-1205. PMID: 24626916  

  • April 6, 2014
  • 11:45 PM

Kleene’s variant of the Church-Turing thesis

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

In 1936, Alonzo Church, Alan Turing, and Emil Post each published independent papers on the Entscheidungsproblem and introducing the lambda calculus, Turing machines, and Post-Turing machines as mathematical models of computation. A myriad of other models followed, many of them taking seemingly unrelated approaches to the computable: algebraic, combinatorial, linguistic, logical, mechanistic, etc. Of course, […]... Read more »

  • April 6, 2014
  • 10:38 AM

Like a giant elevator to the stratosphere

by Perikis Livas in Tracing Knowledge

Recent research results show that an atmospheric hole over the tropical West Pacific is reinforcing ozone depletion in the polar regions and could have a significant influence on the climate of the Earth.... Read more »

Rex, M., Wohltmann, I., Ridder, T., Lehmann, R., Rosenlof, K., Wennberg, P., Weisenstein, D., Notholt, J., Krüger, K., Mohr, V.... (2013) A Tropical West Pacific OH minimum and implications for stratospheric composition. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 13(11), 28869-28893. DOI: 10.5194/acpd-13-28869-2013  

  • April 1, 2014
  • 11:33 AM

Eyeless Fish Navigates with Mouth Suction

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

As bats squeak and swoop through pitch-black Mexican caves, the pale fish that inhabit the pools below them perform a soundless imitation. These fish are blind but sense the world through subtle pressure changes on their skin. To navigate the cave floors, they also use a tool that’s never been observed in another animal: the […]The post Eyeless Fish Navigates with Mouth Suction appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

Holzman R, Perkol-Finkel S, & Zilman G. (2014) Mexican blind cavefish use mouth suction to detect obstacles. The Journal of experimental biology. PMID: 24675558  

  • March 25, 2014
  • 11:45 PM

Algorithmic Darwinism

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

The workshop on computational theories of evolution started off on Monday, March 17th with Leslie Valiant — one of the organizers — introducing his model of evolvability (Valiant, 2009). This original name was meant to capture what type of complexity can be achieved through evolution. Unfortunately — especially at this workshop — evolvability already had […]... Read more »

Feldman, V. (2008) Evolvability from learning algorithms. Proceedings of the 40th annual ACM symposium on Theory of Computing, 619-628. DOI: 10.1145/1374376.1374465  

  • March 19, 2014
  • 06:57 AM

Maxwell Equations And Knot Theory

by Simone Munao in United Academics

Recently published computations show that there are structures of light that satisfy the Maxwell equations with the form of a knot. The simulations prove that the field lines do not lose their topological characteristics, that is to say that they maintain the same shape, up to continuous deformations.... Read more »

Hridesh Kedia, Iwo Bialynicki-Birula, Daniel Peralta-Salas, & William T. M. Irvine. (2013) Tying knots in light fields. Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 150404 (2013) [5 pages]. arXiv: 1302.0342v1

  • March 18, 2014
  • 07:48 AM

Fine-Tuning Stephen Hawking’s Theory of Mass

by Perikis Livas in Tracing Knowledge

If you want to know your body’s mass, you hop on a scale and watch the needle swing. But if you want to know the mass of a region out in space, there’s no cosmic equivalent — the best you can do is consult a geometric formula.... Read more »

Hubert L. Bray, Jeffrey L. Jauregui, & Marc Mars. (2014) Time flat surfaces and the monotonicity of the spacetime Hawking mass II. Cornell University Library. arXiv: 1402.3287v1

Hubert L. Bray, & Jeffrey L. Jauregui. (2013) Time flat surfaces and the monotonicity of the spacetime Hawking mass. Cornell University Library. arXiv: 1310.8638v2

  • March 16, 2014
  • 09:00 PM

Computational theories of evolution

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

If you look at your typical computer science department’s faculty list, you will notice the theorists are a minority. Sometimes they are further subdivided by being culled off into mathematics departments. As such, any institute that unites and strengthens theorists is a good development. That was my first reason for excitement two years ago when […]... Read more »

Angelino, E., & Kanade, V. (2014) Attribute-efficient evolvability of linear functions. Proceedings of the 5th conference on Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science, 287-300. DOI: 10.1145/2554797.2554824  

  • March 14, 2014
  • 06:52 AM

Birds That Are Right- or Left-Handed Help Their Flocks Fly Better

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

As they scrub the smeared ink from their wrists yet again, left-handed people must sometimes wonder what the point of all this is. Why do we have a dominant hand, anyway? However arbitrary it seems, we’re not alone in favoring one side over the other—there are all kinds of animals with a preferred paw, claw, […]The post Birds That Are Right- or Left-Handed Help Their Flocks Fly Better appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

Bhagavatula, P., Claudianos, C., Ibbotson, M., & Srinivasan, M. (2014) Behavioral Lateralization and Optimal Route Choice in Flying Budgerigars. PLoS Computational Biology, 10(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003473  

  • March 12, 2014
  • 11:45 PM

From heuristics to abductions in mathematical oncology

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

As Philip Gerlee pointed out, mathematical oncologists has contributed two main focuses to cancer research. In following Nowell (1976), they’ve stressed the importance of viewing cancer progression as an evolutionary process, and — of less clear-cut origin — recognizing the heterogeneity of tumours. Hence, it would seem appropriate that mathematical oncologists might enjoy Feyerabend’s philosophy: […]... Read more »

  • March 12, 2014
  • 06:41 PM

Can A Computer Measure Your Mood? (CAT Part 3)

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In part 1 and part 2 of this series, I examined the story of the Computerized Adaptive Test – Depression Inventory (CAT-DI). This new technique has touted as being a revolutionary new way of measuring depression. The CAT-DI is a kind of computerized questionnaire, that assesses depressive symptoms by asking a series of questions about […]The post Can A Computer Measure Your Mood? (CAT Part 3) appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Gibbons RD, Weiss DJ, Pilkonis PA, Frank E, Moore T, Kim JB, & Kupfer DJ. (2012) Development of a computerized adaptive test for depression. Archives of general psychiatry, 69(11), 1104-12. PMID: 23117634  

  • March 10, 2014
  • 11:46 PM

Hydrogen peroxide thermochemical oscillator as driver for primordial RNA replication

by Rowena Ball in The Origins of Life

IN THE beginning, there were no living cells and no proteins in the primordial soup on the pre-biotic earth. The authors proposed and tested the hypothesis that thermal cycling to drive cell-free RNA replication and amplification in this environment may have been provided by a natural hydrogen peroxide thermochemical oscillator. This also provides a mechanism for natural selection and evolution. Results also may answer the (previously unanswerable) question of why new life does not emerge from n........ Read more »

Rowena Ball, & John Brindley. (2014) Hydrogen peroxide thermochemical oscillator as driver for primordial RNA replication. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. arXiv: 1402.3875v3

  • March 6, 2014
  • 07:05 AM

Evidence of the square root of Brownian motion

by Marco Frasca in The Gauge Connection

A mathematical proof of existence of a stochastic process involving fractional exponents seemed out of question after some mathematicians claimed this cannot not exist. This observation is strongly linked to the current definition and may undergo revision if nature does not agree with it. Stochastic process are very easy to simulate on a computer. Very […]... Read more »

  • March 5, 2014
  • 11:45 PM

Misleading models in mathematical oncology

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

I have an awkward relationship with mathematical oncology, mostly because oncology has an awkward relationship with math. Although I was vaguely familiar that evolutionary game theory (EGT) could be used in cancer research, mostly through Axelrod et al. (2006), I never planned to work on cancer. I wasn’t eager to enter the field because I […]... Read more »

Michor, F., Hughes, T., Iwasa, Y., Branford, S., Shah, N., Sawyers, C., & Nowak, M.A. (2005) Dynamics of chronic myeloid leukaemia. Nature, 435(7046), 1267-1270. DOI: 10.1038/nature03669  

  • February 27, 2014
  • 10:00 PM

Cooperation, enzymes, and the origin of life

by Eric Bolo in Evolutionary Games Group

Enzymes play an essential role in life. Without them, the translation of genetic material into proteins — the building blocks of all phenotypic traits — would be impossible. That fact, however, poses a problem for anyone trying to understand how life appeared in the hot, chaotic, bustling molecular “soup” from which it sparked into existence […]... Read more »

Bianconi, G., Zhao, K., Chen, I.A., & Nowak, M.A. (2013) Selection for replicases in protocells. PLoS Computational Biology, 9(5). PMID: 23671413  

  • February 26, 2014
  • 11:45 PM

Approximating spatial structure with the Ohtsuki-Nowak transform

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Can we describe reality? As a general philosophical question, I could spend all day discussing it and never arrive at a reasonable answer. However, if we restrict to the sort of models used in theoretical biology, especially to the heuristic models that dominate the field, then I think it is relatively reasonable to conclude that […]... Read more »

Ohtsuki, H., & Nowak, M.A. (2006) The replicator equation on graphs. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 243(1), 86-97. PMID: 16860343  

  • February 14, 2014
  • 11:45 PM

Evolution is a special kind of (machine) learning

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Theoretical computer science has a long history of peering through the algorithmic lens at the brain, mind, and learning. In fact, I would argue that the field was born from the epistemological questions of what can our minds learn of mathematical truth through formal proofs. The perspective became more scientific with McCullock & Pitts’ (1943) […]... Read more »

Valiant, L.G. (2009) Evolvability. Journal of the ACM, 56(1), 3. DOI: 10.1145/1462153.1462156  

  • February 9, 2014
  • 10:19 AM

Nature already patched it

by Marco Frasca in The Gauge Connection

Dennis Overbye is one of the best science writer around. Recently, he wrote a beautiful piece on the odd behavior of non-converging series like and so on to infinity (see here). This article contains a wonderful video, this one where it shown why and this happens only when this series is taken going to infinity. […]... Read more »

  • February 7, 2014
  • 11:45 PM

Misleading models: “How learning can guide evolution”

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

I often see examples of mathematicians, physicists, or computer scientists transitioning into other scientific disciplines and going on to great success. However, the converse is rare, and the only two examples I know is Edward Witten’s transition from an undergad in history and linguistics to a ground-breaking career in theoretical physicist, and Geoffrey Hinton‘s transition […]... Read more »

Hinton, G. E., & Nowlan, S. J. (1987) How learning can guide evolution. Complex Systems, 1(3), 495-502. info:/

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