Finding meaning in big data

The noise in high-dimensional datasets can obscure real correlations — and give rise to illusory patterns that don’t mean anything. April 2-5, an interdisciplinary group of mathematicians, physicists, and theoretical computer scientists meets at SFI to address the problem and devise new algorithms that can succeed all the way up to the limits that arise from not having enough data, or not knowing if the data is accurate.  

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Study: To prevent collapse of tropical forests, protect their shape

A team of scientists has made a fundamental discovery about how fires on the edges of these forests control their shape and stability. Their study implies that when patches of tropical forest lose their natural shape it could contribute to the sudden, even catastrophic, transformation of that land from trees to grass.

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Caribou drone study shows 'enormous variation' within herd

In a paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B, SFI Omidyar Fellow Andrew Berdahl, long-time collaborator Colin Torney (University of Glasgow), and co-authors, used drones to collect overhead footage of migrating caribou. This is the first paper to use drones to record the movement of individual animals within groups. It is also among the first to study social interactions within those groups as they migrate.

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Opening a centuries-old window on innovation

Patents are one of the best sources of data on technology development — an open-ended, historical and adaptive system that shows us how and why inventions have come to be. But is the U.S. patent system broken?

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Learning by omission

What would happen if neural networks were explicitly trained to discard useless information, and how to tell them to do so, is the subject of recent research by SFI's Artemy Kolchinsky, Brendan Tracey, and David Wolpert.

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What magnets have to do with pistachios

SFI External Professor Jon Machta and colleagues from the University of California, Davis, show that one of the most famous models in statistical physics, the Ising model, could be used to understand why pistachio trees bloom in synchrony.

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In memoriam: Alfred Hübler

A teacher, physicist, and all-around “high throughput” individual, SFI External Professor Alfred Hübler passed away Saturday, January 27, at the age of 60.

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Let us compute: The law

The first working group in Feldstein Program on Law, History, and Regulation brings leading researchers together to contribute to the burgeoning research field in the computational study of law.

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