Global Pattern Formation and Ethnic/Cultural Violence

Colleagues from NECSI just published this interesting paper:

Global Pattern Formation and Ethnic/Cultural Violence

M. Lim, R. Metzler, Y. Bar-Yam,
Science 317, 5844 (2007).

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  • Previous Work: Global Control, Ethnic Violence and Terrorism, from Making Things Work, Knowledge Press, Cambridge, MA (2005). view PDF


    We identify a process of global pattern formation that causes regions to differentiate by culture. Violence arises at boundaries between regions that are not sufficiently well defined. We model cultural differentiation as a separation of groups whose members prefer similar neighbors with a characteristic group size at which violence occurs. Application of this model to the area of the former Yugoslavia and to India accurately predicts the locations of reported conflict. This model also points to imposed mixing or boundary clarification as mechanisms for promoting peace.

  • Prediction of regions of ethnic violence in the former Yugoslavia (red overlay) by an agent model (colored dots as agents) based upon the population distribution of ethnic groups in 1991. The prediction map is shown in the context of a geospatial map of Europe.
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    Paper Update: The World as Evolving Information

    After substantial feedback, I uploaded a new version of the paper:

    The World as Evolving Information
    Carlos Gershenson

    Abstract: This paper discusses the benefits of describing the world as information, especially in the study of the evolution of life and cognition. Traditional studies encounter problems because it is difficult to describe life and cognition in terms of matter and energy, since their laws are valid only at the physical scale. However, if matter and energy, as well as life and cognition, are described in terms of information, evolution can be described consistently as information becoming more complex.
    The paper presents five tentative laws of information, valid at multiple scales, which are generalizations of Darwinian, cybernetic, thermodynamic, and complexity principles. These are further used to discuss the notions of life and cognition and their evolution.
    Full paper here.