Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Formula Helps Gauge the Winds of Change

27.01.2010
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that change is the only constant. People change, organizations change, the way people and institutions interact changes over time. Change affects social interactions and the natural world, and it even plays a role in how networks such as air traffic control and banking systems function.

University of Washington research has developed a formula to examine just what sorts of changes occur over time among complex and integrated structures. A key to understanding what's happening is to think of the relationships as networks.

"We've been working on the mathematics of it for some time and it's worked out quite well. We're able to use our formula to create maps that show in detail what's going on," said Carl Bergstrom, a UW associate professor of biology.

He is co-author of a paper describing the work, which is being published Wednesday (Jan. 27) in the online journal PLoS One, published by the Public Library of Science. The lead author is Martin Rosvall of Umeå University in Sweden, who worked on the project while a UW postdoctoral researcher.

To test their formula, the scientists applied the principals to mapping changes in the field of neuroscience, which a decade ago was mostly a specialty for individuals in a number of other disciplines, such as neurology, psychology or cell biology. They looked at thousands of citations for papers published in scholarly journals in the last 10 years to see how the field has evolved.

"What's happened is that neuroscience has gone from an interdisciplinary specialty to a discipline of its own," Bergstrom said. "These maps throw out our preconceptions of what the disciplines are and look at it in terms of what people are citing."

He believes there are many other applications, such as looking at changes in the flow of air traffic in the United States over time, with the emergence of dominantly busy airports such as Chicago and Atlanta. Those airport operations can affect the nation's entire air traffic system. The formula eventually could allow a closer examination of how the system changed with airline deregulation that began in the late 1970s.

Bergstrom is currently working with Federal Reserve economists to analyze the financial flow between Federal Reserve banks and the nation's largest banking institutions, and he believes the new tool could have broad applications in the public health field as well.

"I think there are many opportunities to look at biological networks, genetics and the spread and treatment of cancer for example," he said.

The tool also could be useful in tracking the spread of illnesses such as AIDS and H1N1, the so-called swine flu.

"If you want to understand the way infectious diseases spread through human populations, you have to understand the network of contacts through which those transmissions occur," Bergstrom said.

The work was funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study.

For more information, contact Bergstrom at 206-685-3487 or cbergst@uw.edu.

Vince Stricherz | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uw.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>