Abstract: Natural languages are full of rules and exceptions. One of the most famous quantitative rules is Zipf's law which states that the frequency of occurrence of a word is approximately inversely proportional to its rank. Though this `law' of ranks has been found to hold across disparate texts and forms of data, analyses of increasingly large corpora over the last 15 years have revealed the existence of two scaling regimes. These regimes have thus far been explained by a hypothesis suggesting a separability of languages into core and non-core lexica. Here, we present and defend an alternative hypothesis, that the two scaling regimes result from the act of aggregating texts. We observe that text mixing leads to an effective decay of word introduction, which we show provides accurate predictions of the location and severity of breaks in scaling. Upon examining large corpora from 10 languages, we find emphatic empirical support for the universality of our claim.
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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).