• Information dissipation and tipping points by Rick Quax

    March 3, 2015 • Talk

    Information dissipation and tipping points by Rick Quax

    On Friday January 16 Rick Quax, from the Universtiy of Amsterdam, presented an invited keynote lecture to about 60 people (mostly psychology, clinicians, and statisticians) in an event called “Time Series and Dynamical Models” in Amsterdam. The title of his talk is “Information dissipation and tipping points” and download of the slides is available.


    Emergent behaviour is the process where a large collection of elements (termed ‘agents’) generate a complex systemic behaviour. Examples include human cognition emerging from a network of neural cells, ecosystems from food webs, and cellular regulatory processes from protein-protein interactions. A first important question is: which agents are the ‘drivers’ of the systemic behaviour? A second question is: can we detect emergent phenomena, particularly ‘criticality’ (susceptibility to small perturbations)? We address these questions using the concept of ‘information dissipation’ which we are developing. This is the idea that Shannon information is first stored in an agent’s state, and then percolates through the network due to the agent-agent interactions. I will present recent work on addressing the above questions through analytical results, computational modeling and real data analysis of financial derivatives data around the Lehman Brothers collapse.

    Rick Quax is a postdoctoral researcher in the Computational Science in the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam. He is particularly interested in the emergence of complex, systemic behavior from the interactions of relatively simple elements, such as human cognition from neurons and synapses, cell regulatory processes from gene-gene interactions, and social unrests and protests through person-person communication.