Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Network Model of Biological Evolution?

Finishing Tim Ingold's piece and the book Linked by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi in the same day was more circumstance than anything, but the overlap was unavoidable.  Barabasi, a Hungarian physicist at the University of Notre Dame, has been forging a new line of research known as Applied Network Theory.  Seminal work in the field includes The Strength of Weak Ties, The Small World Problem, and more recently on power-laws: Power laws, Pareto distributions and Zipf's law

Inspired partly by computer networks, applied network theory takes the basic data structure of a network of interconnected nodes and applies it as a model to various naturally occurring phenomenon.  Some particularly good examples revealed in Barabasi's book include social networks, cell-biology and genetics, international financial markets, and everyone's favorite network, the world wide web*.  Interesting properties, of varying degrees of complexity, fall out of simple network structure like "hubs" of proportionally large inter-connectivity, "islands" of relatively segregated sub-networks, and of course weak links such as those found abundantly in social networks.

The connection to Tim Ingold's call for a organism-centric biology is not hard to see.  Network theory offers a simple and scalable model for organism-culture interaction.  A directed graph (one in which nodes' connectivity distribution is said to follow a power-law) could explain mimetic / culturgen heritability and expansion.  Networks have been used to show how companies rise to monopolies, how youtube videos go viral, and why child-naming patterns exhibit momentum.  Networks offer what could prove to be an elegant reconciliation of implicate organismal traits and their relationship to culture.


*One emergent feature of directed networks are sub-structures referred to as "tubes" which are segments in which elongated, one-directional flow occurs.  Thus, U.S. Alaskan Senator from, Ted Stevens, wasn't completely full of crap when he so elequently characterised the internet as a series of tubes.

8 comments:

  1. India Is Us works closely with these NGOs helping them spread a word and encouraging people to do good. Go more information : https://www.indiaisus.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great Article
    Best Brand Building Agency India-CHL Worldwide is top integrated advertising agency in India which provide best brand building and brand custodian services. Go here: http://chlworldwide.com/

    ReplyDelete
  3. CHL Software Technologies acknowledges this need and is geared to provide top notch digital solutions for your

    businesses. http://chlsoftech.com/

    ReplyDelete
  4. International Communication Services (ICS), a global consortium, is the premium provider for marketing communication services specializing in multilingual and multicultural projects. Click here https://www.ics-dubai.com/

    ReplyDelete
  5. CHL is the preferred localization partner for Indian languages and international languages by most of the leading international localization companies based in Noida. Click here: http://chllocalization.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. csr consulting agency chennai

    The India is us is a CSR Consulting service provider firm in India. We help our partners co-create inclusive businesses that are scalable, sustainable and global. Click here: https://www.indiaisus.com/

    ReplyDelete
  7. The study overseas consultants provide detailed career counselling that help youngsters find their preferred field of study and college in India or abroad. Click here more information: http://fairgaze.com/DiscoverCareer.htm

    ReplyDelete
  8. Digital Printing in Dubai. ICS Dubai Printing services encompass all sort of digital printing services from ordinary laser

    printing to large format printing. Click Here: https://www.ics-dubai.com/digital-printing-dubai.asp

    ReplyDelete

Keep it real