Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stock Market Models Help NYU Researchers Predict Animal Behavior

13.11.2014

In an unexpected mashup of financial and mechanical engineering, researchers have discovered that the same modeling used to forecast fluctuations in the stock market can be used to predict aspects of animal behavior. Their work proposes an unprecedented model for in silico—or computer-based—simulations of animal behavior. The findings were published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

The team, led by Maurizio Porfiri, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the school’s Dynamical Systems Laboratory, is more accustomed to studying the social behavior of zebrafish—a freshwater species often used in experiments due to its genetic similarity to humans. Porfiri has drawn considerable attention for his interdisciplinary research on the factors that influence zebrafish collective behavior.

However, designing procedures and conditions for animal experiments are time-intensive, and despite careful planning, many experiments yield mixed data. Porfiri and his team, comprising postdoctoral fellow Ross P. Anderson, doctoral student Violet Mwaffo, and former postdoctoral fellow Sachit Butail (now assistant professor at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi), set out to develop a mathematical model of animal behavior that could predict the outcome or improve the effectiveness of experiments and minimize the number of fish used in them.

When mapping the movement of zebrafish as they swam, Porfiri and his colleagues observed that the species does not move in a continuous pattern; rather, it swims in a signature style characterized by coasting periods followed by sharp turns. As they plotted the turn rate of the fish over time, the researchers noticed that their data, with its small variations followed by large dips (reflecting fast turns), looked very different from the turn rate of other fish but very similar to another type of data, where such volatility is not only common but well studied: the stock market.

The team embraced the mathematical model known as a stochastic jump process, a term used by financial engineers and economists to describe the price jumps of financial assets over time. Using many of the same tools employed in financial analysis, the researchers were able to create a mathematical model of zebrafish swimming, mining video footage from previous experimental sessions to seed what they hope will become a robust database of zebrafish behavior under varying circumstances.

“We realized that if we could simulate the swimming behavior of these fish using a computer, we could test and predict their responses to new stimuli, whether that is the introduction or removal of a shoal mate, the presence of a robotic fish, or even exposure to alcohol,” Porfiri said. “In behavior studies, you can easily utilize thousands of test subjects to explore different variables. This will allow researchers to replace some of that experimentation with computer modeling.”

Porfiri emphasized that this mathematical model of animal behavior will also allow researchers to make better use of their data following experiments, not just beforehand. “The data that result from zebrafish experiments look quite messy initially,” Porfiri said. “Giving researchers a model they can use to compare, filter, and refine their analysis afterwards will allow them to maximize data for better results.”

Porfiri and his team plan to continue to add data to their model with the hope of creating a toolbox that all researchers engaged in this field of study can utilize.

The idea of incorporating financial engineering to model zebrafish behavior came from Mwaffo, now a doctoral student in Porfiri’s lab who had earned his master’s degree in financial engineering from the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering.

This work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation. The full paper, “A Jump Persistent Turning Walker to Model Zebrafish Locomotion” is here.


Learn more about: Maurizio Porfiri

Kathleen Hamilton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://engineering.nyu.edu/press-release/2014/11/12/stock-market-models-help-nyu-researchers-predict-animal-behavior

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Mathematical confirmation: Rewiring financial networks reduces systemic risk
22.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Frugal Innovations: when less is more
19.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>