Abstract: We study binary state dynamics on a network where each node acts in response to the average state of its neighborhood. By allowing varying amounts of stochasticity in both the network and node responses, we find different outcomes in random and deterministic versions of the model. In the limit of a large, dense network, however, we show that these dynamics coincide. We construct a general mean-field theory for random networks and show this predicts that the dynamics on the network is a smoothed version of the average response function dynamics. Thus, the behavior of the system can range from steady state to chaotic depending on the response functions, network connectivity, and update synchronicity. As a specific example, we model the competing tendencies of imitation and nonconformity by incorporating an off-threshold into standard threshold models of social contagion. In this way, we attempt to capture important aspects of fashions and societal trends. We compare our theory to extensive simulations of this “limited imitation contagion” model on Poisson random graphs, finding agreement between the mean-field theory and stochastic simulations.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).