Cancer as a Failure of Multicellularity: The Role of Cellular Evolution

Cancer results from a process of cellular evolution. Key cancer vulnerabilities and defenses arose from the ancient evolutionary transition from single-celled to multicellular organisms. Because cellular evolution leads inexorably to cancer, organismal evolution has organized cell reproduction into patterns...

Bubbles and Crashes in a Heterogeneous-Agent

We construct a heterogeneous-agent model of a single-asset financial market in which agents form demand for the asset based on price forecasts. Agents can change their forecasts over time in response to market conditions (in particular, price volatility and previous prices). We simulate this model and...

Linking Pattern and Process in Cultural Evolution

This work aims to lay the theoretical and methodological foundations for investigating how individual level interactions aggregate to produce population level patterns of cultural diversity. Cultural traits can be transmitted between individuals in different ways. Here we investigate the dynamics produced...

How the Biological Sciences Misquantify Diversity, and Why It Matters

Diversity plays a central role in ecology, conservation biology, genetics, and other fields. Yet most of the classical measures of compositional complexity, generalized entropy, and diversity, and the measures of compositional differentiation and similarity that biologists derived from them, do not...

New problems, New Partnerships: What Tomorrow's University Must Be

In a relatively brief 150 years, human demands on natural systems have, perhaps irrevocably, brought us to an inflection point – the implications of which we do not yet fully understand. Meeting these new and increasingly complex challenges will require massive, coordinated efforts linking academia,...

Cities through the Ages: One Thing or Many?

I address the question of whether the urban scaling laws identified for modern cities by Bettencourt, West, and others should apply to premodern cities. I propose a dichotomy between economic cities (mostly contemporary cities, whose growth is generated by agglomeration effects and commercial expansion)...

Epidemics on Networks with Applications to Network Robustness against Malware Spread and to Information Dissemination in Social Networks

We concentrate on the simple SIS epidemics on any network. First, general (exact) properties are derived, followed by a mean-field approximation that culminates in the N-intertwined approximation (NIMFA). Several extensions and attractive features of NIFMA are presented. Since there does not exist an...

A Theory of Collective Reputations with Endogenous Identity

We explore a formal economic model of "collective reputations" — i.e., of the rational formation by external observers of beliefs about the unobserved traits of varied population aggregates. This phenomenon (sometimes referred to as 'stereotyping') has long been of interest to economists, sociologists,...

Understanding the Impact of Human Behavior and Heterogeneous Mixing Patterns on Social Networks and Epidemics

Social and mass media have recently played a crucial role in informing and influencing people’s perceptions about the spread of infectious diseases. Community perception can influence human behavior, which can in turn impact the spread of an epidemic by changing the social contact network within the...

Why is Time a One-Way Street?

Anyone can see that the past is different from the future. Anyone, that is, but theoretical physicists, whose equations do not seem to distinguish the past from the future. How, then, do physicists understand the "arrow of time" — the fact that the past and future are so different? Leonard Susskind...

Fisheries and Global Warming Impact on Global Ecosystems

The multiple factors contributing to the crisis which besets global marine fisheries since the mid-1990s are presented, along with key trends illustrating manifestations of that crisis, i.e., (i) a declining world catch, (ii) increasing global fishing effort, fueled by government subsidies, (iii) declining...

Life in Earth's Deep Biosphere: From Bacterial Finches to Bactivorous Meiofauna

What is life like 4 km beneath the surface of the Earth? You could ask one of the Zuma Zumas, the illegal gold miners that live down in the ultradeep mines of South Africa’s Witwatersrand Basin, if you could find them. They are living proof of how far life will go if the rewards make you very rich....

Toward an Information Theory of Attention

Modern information environments are characterized by an excess of information rather than by scarcity. In such information overload regimes, it is necessary for message signals to not only provide information but also to attract attention in the first place. Bayesian surprise is an information-theoretic...

The Brain and the Law: How Neuroscience Will Shift Blameworthiness

Insights from neuroscience are challenging long-held assumptions at the core of our criminal justice system. Are all brains really created equal? Is mass incarceration the most fruitful method of dealing with juveniles, the mentally ill, and the drug-addicted? Do emerging technologies such as real-time...

Zoobiquity: What Dolphin Diabetes Can Teach Us About Human Health

Dinosaurs suffered from brain cancer, arthritis, and gout. Koalas catch Chlamydia. Gorillas experience clinical depression. Stallions self-harm in a way that correlates to “cutting” for human patients. Animals and humans get the same diseases, yet physicians and veterinarians rarely talk. Drawing on...

Cultural Morphospace and Technological Evolution

This presentation employs morphospace analysis to explore the relationship between population size and technological complexity. A complex relationship is proposed, in which technology expands logistically in cultural morphospace but is dependent on a minimal population of human innovators.

Islands of Order

Not long ago, both ecology and social science were organized around ideas of stability. This view has changed in ecology, where nonlinear change is increasingly seen as normal, but not (yet) in social science. This talk focuses on three surprising discoveries about historical transitions in the islands...

The Minds of Children

Human children are dependent longer than the young of any other species. Scientists used to believe babies were irrational and their thinking limited. New research suggests that even the youngest infants have powerful learning abilities; that toddlers analyze statistics and do experiments; that preschoolers...

Why Children are Better (or at Least More Open-Minded) Learners than Adults Are

I argue for a theoretical link between the development of an extended period of immaturity in human evolution and the emergence of powerful and wide-ranging causal learning mechanisms, particularly the use of causal models and Bayesian learning. In fact, young children may actually be more wide-ranging...

The Dynamics of Genomic Sequence Evolution in 40 Adapting Budding Yeast Populations

Annual Science Board Symposium and Meeting New Perspectives in Evolution