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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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IV. Ecosmomics: An Independent, UniVersal, Source Code-Script of Generative Complex Network Systems

4. Universality Affirmations: A Critical Complementarity

Bansal, Kanika, et al. Cognitive Chimera States in Human Brain Networks. Science Advances. 5/4, 2019. Six system neurophysicists with postings across the USA from Columbia University to UC Santa Barbara provide an illustrated overview to date about how much cerebral activities as a elf-organized criticality are manifestly distinguished by a dynamic interplay of relatively order and disorder. Since this chimeric system is then to reside in both modes at the same time, this overall effect is dubbed a Metastable condition.

The human brain is a complex dynamical system, and how cognition emerges from spatiotemporal patterns of activity remains an open question. As brain regions interact to perform cognitive tasks, patterns of partial synchrony can be observed forming chimera states. We propose that these dual modes present a cognitively informed, chimera-based framework to explore how large-scale brain architecture affects its function. Our results suggest a classification of cognitive systems into four groups with differing levels of subject and regional variability that reflect their different functional roles. (Abstract excerpt)

Using a novel, chimera-based framework, we explored the dynamical states that emerge across large-scale cognitive systems following the spread of a targeted regional stimulation. We identified three distinct dynamical states — coherent, chimera, and metastable — that arise as a function of the structural connectivity of the stimulated regions. A core result across all analyses is the variety in frequency and distribution of the observed dynamical states. Chimera states are the most pervasive state to emerge following regional stimulation. This likely reflects the foundational role that partial synchrony serves in large-scale brain function to enable the intricate balance between segregated and integrated neural processing. (8)

Bar-Yam, Yaneer. From Big Data to Important Information. arXiv:1604.00976. As the quotes cite, the physicist, founder and president of the New England Complex Systems Institute since the 1990s, after some pages of technical discussion, contends in 2016 that a universal systemic recurrence is indeed evident across widely disparate realms.

Advances in science are being sought in newly available opportunities to collect massive quantities of data about complex systems. While key advances are being made in detailed mapping of systems, how to relate this data to solving many of the challenges facing humanity is unclear. The questions we often wish to address require identifying the impact of interventions on the system and that impact is not apparent in the detailed data that is available. Here we review key concepts and motivate a general framework for building larger scale views of complex systems and for characterizing the importance of information in physical, biological and social systems. We provide examples of its application to evolutionary biology with relevance to ecology, biodiversity, pandemics, and human lifespan, and in the context of social systems with relevance to ethnic violence, global food prices, and stock market panic. Framing scientific inquiry as an effort to determine what is important and unimportant is a means for advancing our understanding and addressing many practical concerns, such as economic development or treating disease. (Abstract)

The mapping of water to vapor transitions onto magnetic transitions illustrates how one type of behavior can describe many possible systems. As renormalization group was more widely applied, many instances were found of systems that have the same behavior even though they differ in detail, a concept that became referred to as universality. Still, while many systems have the same behavior, there are systems that have distinct behaviors. Together this means that systems fall into classes of behaviors, leading to the term `universality class.' Power laws often arise in the context of behaviors that exist across scales, and the value of the exponent became used as a signature of the universality class. (6)

The study of universality enables us to identify classes of systems whose behaviors can be described the same way and can be captured by a common mathematical model. This is the principle of universality that is formalized by the analysis of renormalization group and generalized by the application of multiscale information theory to the scientific study of complex systems. A good way to think about this is that the mathematical model describes one member of the class. (7)

Bashan, Amir, et al. Universality of Human Microbial Dynamics. Nature. 534/259, 2016. In the currency of the Human Microbiome Project to quantify our myriad bacterial species that suffuse, help or harm us, Harvard Medical School, MIT Physics of Living Systems, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers apply the latest algorithmic, computational methods to reveal common patterns and processes in anatomical forms and physiological functions. A commentary, Rules of the Game for Microbiota, in the same issue (534/182) lauds the findings as proof that for everyone, bacteria behave in a common, repeatable fashion. As a result, this makes medical treatments more amenable.

Human-associated microbial communities have a crucial role in determining our health and well-being, and this has led to the continuing development of microbiome-based therapies such as faecal microbiota transplantation. These microbial communities are very complex, dynamic and highly personalized ecosystems, exhibiting a high degree of inter-individual variability in both species assemblages and abundance profiles. It is not known whether the underlying ecological dynamics of these communities, which can be parameterized by growth rates, and intra- and inter-species interactions in population dynamics models, are largely host-independent (that is, universal) or host-specific. If the inter-individual variability reflects host-specific dynamics due to differences in host lifestyle, physiology or genetics, then generic microbiome manipulations may have unintended consequences. Alternatively, microbial ecosystems of different subjects may exhibit universal dynamics, with the inter-individual variability mainly originating from differences in the sets of colonizing species.

Here we develop a new computational method to characterize human microbial dynamics. By applying this method to cross-sectional data from two large-scale metagenomic studies—the Human Microbiome Project and the Student Microbiome Project—we show that gut and mouth microbiomes display pronounced universal dynamics, whereas communities associated with certain skin sites are probably shaped by differences in the host environment. Notably, the universality of gut microbial dynamics is not observed in subjects with recurrent Clostridium difficile infection but is observed in the same set of subjects after faecal microbiota transplantation. These results fundamentally improve our understanding of the processes that shape human microbial ecosystems, and pave the way to designing general microbiome-based therapies. (Abstract)

Bastidas, Victor, et al. Chimera States in Quantum Mechanics. arXiv:1807.08056. Technical University of Berlin physicists post another take on how everyday complex self-organizing networks can be found in this once opaque domain. The paper opens by noting how such phenomena are apply in kind across every natural and neural realm. In addition, these semi-synchronized conditions are seen to exhibit a dynamic critical balance, which can carry and process information. See also Chaos in Dirac Electron Optics: Emergence of a Relativistic Quantum Chimera in Physical Review Letters (120/124101, 2018) for a concurrent contribution and Quantum Signatures of Chimera States (1505.02639) for an earlier view.

Classical chimera states are paradigmatic examples of partial synchronization patterns emerging in nonlinear dynamics. These states are characterized by the spatial coexistence of two dramatically different dynamical behaviors, i.e., synchronized and desynchronized dynamics. Our aim in this contribution is to discuss signatures of chimera states in quantum mechanics. We study a network with a ring topology consisting of N coupled quantum Van der Pol oscillators. We describe the emergence of chimera-like quantum correlations in the covariance matrix. Further, we establish the connection of chimera states to quantum information theory by describing the quantum mutual information for a bipartite state of the network. (Abstract)

Behler, Jorg. Neural Network Potential-Energy Surfaces in Chemistry. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. 13/17930, 2011. Reviewed more in systems Chemistry, a Ruhr University Bochum theoretical chemist finds these iconic cerebral dynamic topologies to be readily adaptable to chemical phenomena.

Berezutskii, Aleksandr, et al. Probing Criticality in Quantum Spin Chains with Neural Networks. Journal of Physics: Complexity. 1/3, 2020. We cite entry this by an international team based in Canada, Russia, and Hungary including Jacob Biamonte as an example of how even quantum phenomena can and does exhibit nature’s independent preference for this widely prevalent state of dynamic balance.

The numerical emulation of quantum systems often requires an exponential number of degrees of freedom which translates to a computational bottleneck. Methods of machine learning have been used in adjacent fields for effective feature extraction and high-dimensional datasets. Recent studies have revealed that neural networks are suitable for the determination of macroscopic phases of matter as well as efficient quantum state representation. In this work, we address phase transitions in quantum spin chains and show that even neural networks with no hidden layers can be effectively trained to distinguish between magnetically ordered and disordered phases. Our results extend to a wide class of interacting quantum many-body systems and illustrate the wide applicability of neural networks to many-body quantum physics. (Abstract excerpt)

Betzel, Richard, et al. Diversity of Meso-Scale Architecture in Human and Non-Human Connectomes. arXiv:1702,02807. We place this entry in Mid 2010s Universalities since University of Pennsylvania neuroscientists Betzel, John Medaglia and Danielle Bassett report common cerebral geometries across Metazoan creaturely evolution from insects and mice to primates and homo sapiens.

The brain's functional diversity is reflected in the meso-scale architecture of its connectome, i.e. its division into clusters and communities of topologically-related brain regions. The dominant view, and one that is reinforced by current analysis techniques, is that communities are strictly assortative and segregated from one another, purportedly for the purpose of carrying out specialized information processing. Such a view, however, precludes the possibility of non-assortative communities that could engender a richer functional repertoire by allowing for a more complex set of inter-community interactions. Here, we use weighted stochastic blockmodels to uncover the meso-scale architecture of Drosophila, mouse, rat, macaque, and human connectomes.

We confirm that while many communities are assortative, others form core-periphery and disassortative structures, which in the human better recapitulate observed patterns of functional connectivity and in the mouse better recapitulate observed patterns of gene co-expression than other community detection techniques. We define a set of network measures for quantifying the diversity of community types in which brain regions participate. Finally, we show that diversity is peaked in control and subcortical systems in humans. In summary, our report paints a more diverse portrait of connectome meso-scale structure and demonstrates its relevance for cognitive performance. (Abstract)

Blythe, Richard. Symmetry and Universality in Language Change. arXiv.1508.05297. The University of Edinburgh physicist offers one more perception of a common constancy across many levels, which is here noted in its phenomenal human phase. See also Blythe’s paper A Search for General Principles of Nonequilibrium Physics in Physica Scripta (40/421006, 2016).

We investigate mechanisms for language change within a framework where an unconventional signal for a meaning is first innovated, and then subsequently propagated through a speech community to replace the existing convention. We appeal to the notion of universality as it applies to complex interacting systems in the physical sciences and which establishes a link between generic ('universal') patterns at the macroscopic scale and relates them to symmetries at the microscopic scale. By relating the presence and absence of specific symmetries to fundamentally distinct mechanisms for language change at the level of individual speakers and speech acts, we are able to draw conclusions about which of these underlying mechanisms are most likely to be responsible for the changes that actually occur. Since these mechanisms are typically believed to be common to all speakers in all speech communities, this provides a means to relate universals in individual behaviour to language universals. (Abstract)

Braccini, Michele, et al. Online Adaptation in Robots as Biological Development Provides Phenotypic Plasticity. arXiv:2006.02367. MB and Andrea Roli, University of Bologna and Stuart Kauffman, Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle consider how this responsive organismic feature, re the Abstract, could be availed for better android designs. By so doing, a concept, due much to SK decades ago (search), is advanced that this condition is effective because it resides at an active critical poise between conserve and create states. See also Emergence of Organisms by Andrea Roli and Stuart Kauffman in Entropy (22/10, 2020), re third quote, and Self-organization toward Criticality by Synaptic Plasticity by Roxana Zeraati, et al at arXiv:2010.07888.

The ability to respond to environmental stimuli with appropriate actions is a property shared by living organisms, and it is sought in the design of robotic systems. Phenotypic plasticity provides a way for achieving this as it qualifies those organisms that, from one genotype, can express different phenotypes in response to changing environments, without genetic modifications. In this work we study phenotypic plasticity in robots that are equipped with online sensor adaptation. We also show that the dynamical regime necessary for the best performance is the critical one, bringing further evidence that natural and artificial systems capable of optimally balancing robustness and adaptivity are in a critical state. (Abstract excerpt)

We start from known and relevant properties of organisms and check whether they can provide general principles that can explain their phenotypic plasticity and can then bring us to link development and evolution. We believe that one of these principles can be found in criticality. A long-standing conjecture in complex system science — the criticality hypothesis — emphasizes the optimal balance between robustness and adaptiveness of those systems in a dynamical regime between order and chaos. (3)

Criticality: The organisms in the evolving biosphere are very likely to be critical, i.e., their dynamical regime is at the boundary between order and disorder. This conjecture has found strong support in biology, neuroscience, as well as computer science, and it can be expressed by these statements: (1) critical systems are more evolvable than systems in other dynamical conditions as they attain an optimal trade-off between mutational robustness and phenotypic innovation and (2) critical systems have advantages over ordered or disordered ones, because they optimally balance information storage, modification and transfer. (Entropy paper, 3)

Brito, Samurai, et al. Role of Dimensionality in Complex Networks. Nature Scientific Reports. 6/27992, 2016. In these times of transdisciplinary syntheses, Brito, and L. R. de Silva, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, and Constantio Tsallis, Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas, Brazil post a technical study of how Tsallis’ theories (search) of nonextensive statistical mechanics and thermodynamics have an innate affinity to scale-free networks as they array across natural and social systems. In this regard, “basic universality relations” can be quantified and affirmed. For some context, see a 2005 Nonextensive Statistical Mechanics and Complex Scale-Free Networks paper by Stefan Thurner (search) in a special issue of Europhysics News (36/6) on Tsallis’ work.

Buendia, Victor, et al. Feedback Mechanisms for Self-Organization to the Edge of a Phase Transition. arXiv:2006.03020. University of Granada, Columbia University, and Rutgers University bioscientists including Migeul Munoz continue to explore and finesse the various ways that nature’s newly found propensity to seek and attain an optimum dynamic balance between reciprocal modes or stages can be seen to take and express.

Scale-free outbursts of activity are commonly observed in physical, geological, and biological systems. The idea of self-organized criticality (SOC) suggests that natural systems can self-tune to a critical state with its concomitant power-laws and scaling. Theoretical progress now explains SOC by relating its critical properties to those of a non-equilibrium phase transition that separates an active state in which dynamical activity reverberates indefinitely, from an absorbing or quiescent state where activity eventually ceases. Here, we consider a related concept: self-organized bistability (SOB). We review similarities and differences between SOC and SOB under a common theoretical framework, and discuss "self-organized quasi-criticality" and "self-organized collective oscillations", with the aim of providing feedback mechanisms for self-organization to the edge of a phase transition. (Abstract excerpt)

In summary, we have reviewed within a common and unified framework different types of mechanisms for the self-organization to the vicinity of phase transitions. We hope that this work help clarify the literature on the subject, and contribute to new and exciting developments in physics and other disciplines. This could be especially important in biology, where the idea that living systems can obtain important functional advantages by operating at the edge of two alternative/complementary types of phases/state has attracted a great deal of attention and excitement. (21)

Burgess, Mark. On the Scaling of Functional Spaces, From Smart Cities to Cloud Computing. arXiv:1602.06091. Burgess has a doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Newcastle, and has since become a computer scientist with accomplishments such as Promise Theory, (Google this, also about MB) and more. His latest book is In Search of Certainty: The Science of Our Information Infrastructure (2015). This paper considers how the work of Luis Bettencourt, Geoffrey West, and colleagues about consistent, nested repetitions of complex network systems in all manner of cities and organisms can inform the presence of a true, innate universality. As these findings grow in breadth, depth and veracity, they imply a constant natural recurrence that can be applied in kind to other areas, so as bring needed understandings and improvements going forward. See also his Spacetimes with Semantics postings at arXiv:1411.5563, and 1506.01461.

Universality and scaling are powerful notions in science. Having data about the scaling of functional processes, at large and small N, offers an invaluable insight into what we can expect of technological systems at scale, and their increasing intrusion into human society. Understanding social sciences in terms of laws, analogous to physical law, is an area where progress has been made over the past century. Universality reveals emergent laws, on broad scales. However, a fuller understand of systems, whether human cities, smart cities, computers, or any other human structure, is only achieved by describing both dynamics and semantics at micro- and mesoscopic scales. Just as we cannot understand medicine without understanding the functional roles of structures inside organisms, so the functional organs in a city are key to what it does. The universal scaling arguments for urban areas, in, are exciting discoveries. (36)

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