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New draft: Information in Science and Buddhist Philosophy: Towards a non-Materialistic Worldview

My first philosophical text in years, comments welcome.

Information theory has been developed for seventy years with technological applications that have transformed our societies. The increasing ability to store, transmit, and process information is having a revolutionary impact in most disciplines. The goal of this work is to compare the formal approach to information with Buddhist philosophy. Considering both approaches as compatible and complementary, I argue that information theory can improve our understanding of Buddhist philosophy and vice versa. The resulting synthesis leads to a worldview based on information that overcomes limitations of the currently dominating physics-based worldview.

Gershenson, Carlos, Information in Science and Buddhist Philosophy: Towards a non-Materialistic Worldview (October 4, 2018). https://ssrn.com/abstract=3261381

Unsolicited middle age advice

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I’m turning 40. Given the current life expectancy, statistically it’s about half of my life. A proper moment to reflect on what I’ve done, what I could have done, and what I would still like to do. 
The dominating emotion is gratitude: for all that I have experienced, it has been amazing. Grateful to my parents, family, teachers, mentors: my origins. Grateful to my wife, my friends, my colleagues: my companions. Grateful to my children and students: my legacy.
So, it is a favorable moment to throw out some unsolicited advice. I’m not saying anything new, so perhaps it is just a reminder list to myself, of what I think is important in life (because I keep on forgetting):  Don’t worry. We’re all gonna die sooner than later. Everything changes, so all that you cherish and and that you despise will vanish. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive, it means that worrying about doing or not doing is not useful for achieving. Just do it.It is OK to be mistaken. Well, if you learn from it. I…

Paper published: Rank Dynamics of Word Usage at Multiple Scales

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The recent dramatic increase in online data availability has allowed researchers to explore human culture with unprecedented detail, such as the growth and diversification of language. In particular, it provides statistical tools to explore whether word use is similar across languages, and if so, whether these generic features appear at different scales of language structure. Here we use the Google Books N-grams dataset to analyze the temporal evolution of word usage in several languages. We apply measures proposed recently to study rank dynamics, such as the diversity of N-grams in a given rank, the probability that an N-gram changes rank between successive time intervals, the rank entropy, and the rank complexity. Using different methods, results show that there are generic properties for different languages at different scales, such as a core of words necessary to minimally understand a language. We also propose a null model to explore the relevance of linguistic structure across m…

Paper published: Trajectory stability in the traveling salesman problem

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Two generalizations of the traveling salesman problem in which sites change their position in time are presented. The way the rank of different trajectory lengths changes in time is studied using the rank diversity. We analyze the statistical properties of rank distributions and rank dynamics and give evidence that the shortest and longest trajectories are more predictable and robust to change, that is, more stable.

Sánchez, S., Cocho, G., Flores, J., Gershenson, C., Iñiguez, G., and Pineda, C. (2018). Trajectory stability in the traveling salesman problem. Complexity, 2018:2826082. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/2826082


Tenure-track Research Professor in Data Science at UNAM Mérida

The Computer Science Department of the Instituto de Investigaciones en Matemáticas Aplicadas y en Sistemas (IIMAS) of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) has a open call for a research professor in data science for the new UNAM campus in Mérida, Yucatán. This position, aimed at young researchers, consists of renewable one-year contracts with the possibility of tenure after three years.

Application deadline: February 23, 2018.

More information
Dr. Edgar Garduño
Head of Computer Science Department
edgargar AT unam DOT mx

Paper published: Improving public transportation systems with self-organization: A headway-based model and regulation of passenger alighting and boarding

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The equal headway instability—the fact that a configuration with regular time intervals between vehicles tends to be volatile—is a common regulation problem in public transportation systems. An unsatisfactory regulation results in low efficiency and possible collapses of the service. Computational simulations have shown that self-organizing methods can regulate the headway adaptively beyond the theoretical optimum. In this work, we develop a computer simulation for metro systems fed with real data from the Mexico City Metro to test the current regulatory method with a novel self-organizing approach. The current model considers overall system’s data such as minimum and maximum waiting times at stations, while the self-organizing method regulates the headway in a decentralized manner using local information such as the passenger’s inflow and the positions of neighboring trains. The simulation shows that the self-organizing method improves the performance over the current one as it adapt…