An avalanche of violence: Analysis reveals predictable patterns in armed conflicts  January 8, 2021 The scaling law proposed in 1941 suggests smaller conflicts are scaled-down versions of bigger ones. This is surprising because one might think that big conflicts and small conflicts are the results of different kinds of processes and social problems. A team of researchers in the US (Santa Fe Institute, Cornell University, Arizona State University) built a new model analyzing data from two decades of armed conflicts in Africa. The dataset includes more than 100,000 events that occurred up to thousands of kilometers apart. They propose a randomly branching armed conflict model to relate the multiple properties […]

High-tech fixes for the food system could have unintended consequences

EurekAlert  December 11, 2020 Food system innovations will be instrumental to achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to an international team of researchers (Australis, Kenya, Germany, Denmark, UK, USA – Johns Hopkins, Stanford University, Cornell University, Colombia, Switzerland, France, Austria, the Netherlands, University of Minnesota) major innovation breakthroughs can trigger profound and disruptive changes, leading to simultaneous and interlinked reconfigurations of multiple parts of the global food system. The emergence of new technologies or social solutions, therefore, have very different impact profiles, with favorable consequences for some SDGs and unintended adverse side-effects for others. Stand-alone innovations seldom achieve positive […]

New drone technology improves ability to forecast volcanic eruptions

Science Daily  October 30, 2020 An international team of researchers (UK, Italy, Costa Rica, Sweden, Germany, USA – Michigan Tech. University, University of New Mexico, Canada, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand) has shown that aerial measurements of volcanic gases using unoccupied aerial systems (UAS) transform our ability to measure and monitor plumes remotely and to constrain global volatile fluxes from volcanoes. They combined multi-scale measurements from ground-based remote sensing, long-range aerial sampling, and satellites to construct comprehensive gas fluxes emitted by previously uncharacterized volcano Manam in Papua New Guinea. Their data emphasize the need to account for time averaging of […]

An innovative modelling approach to more accurately predict COVID-19 outbreaks

EurekAlert  October 26, 2020 Researchers at Leigh University, working under an NIH funded program, have developed a new approach that uses computational models based on data, in concert with human judgement, to produce more accurate forecasts of COVID-19 outbreaks. According to the researchers their approach has the potential to forecast outbreaks more accurately than current ensemble predictions because it incorporates computational models trained on formatted datasets and predictions from humans who have access to unstructured data. They will also model possible interventions by collecting probabilistic predictions from experts on optimal interventions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., […]

Researchers hope to improve future epidemic predictions

Science Daily  April 6, 2020 A common theme among previously proposed models for network epidemics is the assumption that the propagating object (e.g., a pathogen or a piece of information) is transferred across network nodes without going through any modification or evolutionary adaptations. In real-life spreading processes, pathogens often evolve in response to changing environments and medical interventions, and information is often modified by individuals before being forwarded. A team of researchers in the US (Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University) investigate the effects of evolutionary adaptations on spreading processes in complex networks with the aim of revealing the role of […]

Forecasting COVID-19’s Trajectory

American Physical Society  March 23, 2020 As COVID-19 spreads like wildfire across the globe, politicians must weigh difficult options to mitigate its impact. These decisions are guided by infectious-disease modelers, and physicists are an influential part of the mix. Harnessing today’s computing power, they solve models that capture the probabilistic nature of viral transmission and the dynamics of social behavior, delivering quantitative predictions with ever-increasing accuracy. Network theorists can integrate massive amounts of real data into their models, using publicly available databases on air travel and ground mobility. While it’s impossible to divert an extreme weather event epidemiological tools can […]