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Summer Daze


Barry Wellman, FRSC               Director, NetLab Network
Founder, International Network for Social Network Analysis

Bit by bit, putting it together--Sondheim
It's Always Something--Roseanne Roseannadanna

Getting It Done; Getting It Out: A Practical Guide to Writing, Publishing, Presenting, and Promoting in the Social Sciences--coming in 2021 (Guilford Press)

NETWORKED: The New Social Operating System  Lee Rainie & Barry Wellman  

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Subject: Latest Complexity Digest Posts
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2020 11:03:40 +0000
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Learn about the latest and greatest related to complex systems research. More at

Globalization and the rise and fall of cognitive control

Flow-Mediated Olfactory Communication in Honey Bee Swarms

Dieu My T. Nguyen, Michael L. Iuzzolino, Aaron Mankel, Katarzyna Bozek, Greg J. Stephens, Orit Peleg

Honey bee swarms are a landmark example of collective behavior. To become a coherent swarm, bees locate their queen by tracking her pheromones, but how can distant individuals exploit these chemical signals which decay rapidly in space and time? Here, we combine a novel behavioral assay with the machine vision detection of organism location and scenting behavior to track the search and aggregation dynamics of the honey bee Apis mellifera L. We find that bees collectively create a communication network to propagate pheromone signals, by arranging in a specific spatial distribution where there is a characteristic distance between individuals and a characteristic direction in which individuals broadcast the signals. To better understand such a flow–mediated directional communication strategy, we connect our experimental results to an agent–based model where virtual bees with simple, local behavioral rules, exist in a flow environment. Our model shows that increased directional bias leads to a
more efficient aggregation process that avoids local equilibrium configurations of isotropic communication, such as small bee clusters that persist throughout the simulation. Our results highlight a novel example of extended classical stigmergy: rather than depositing static information in the environment, individual bees locally sense and globally manipulate the physical fields of chemical concentration and airflow.

Source: (

Uncovering the internal structure of Boko Haram through its mobility patterns

Rafael Prieto Curiel, Olivier Walther & Neave O’Clery
Applied Network Science volume 5, Article number: 28 (2020)

Boko Haram has caused nearly 40,000 casualties in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, becoming one of the deadliest Jihadist organisations in recent history. At its current rate, Boko Haram takes part in more than two events each day, taking the lives of nearly 11 people daily. Yet, little is known concerning Boko Haram’s internal structure, organisation, and its mobility.

Here, we propose a novel technique to uncover the internal structure of Boko Haram based on the sequence of events in which the terrorist group takes part. Data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) gives the location and time of nearly 3,800 events in which Boko Haram has been involved since the organisation became violent 10 years ago. Using this dataset, we build an algorithm to detect the fragmentation of Boko Haram into multiple cells, assuming that travel costs and reduced familiarity with unknown locations limit the mobility of individual cells.

Our results suggest that the terrorist group has a very high level of fragmentation and consists of at least 50–60 separate cells. Our methodology enables us to detect periods of time during which Boko Haram exhibits exceptionally high levels of fragmentation, and identify a number of key routes frequently travelled by separate cells of Boko Haram where military interventions could be concentrated.

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