Research:Non-finite Processes in Human Social Phenomena

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Contact
Simon DeDeo
Duration:  2012-10 — 2014-10
Open data project  Open data
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This page documents a research project in progress.
Information may be incomplete and change as the project progresses.
Please contact the project lead before formally citing or reusing results from this page.


Key Personnel[edit]

  • Simon DeDeo / simon[at]santafe.edu
  • (postgraduate research students, as recruited)

Project Summary[edit]

Two papers have been published in the peer-reviewed literature: Group Minds and the Case of Wikipedia; Human Computation (2014) 1:1:5-29. Collective Phenomena and Non-Finite State Computation in a Human Social System; PLoS ONE 8(10): e75818 (2013).

An open-access pre-print on this work is now available at the arXiv.

Below is the abstract of a recent talk delivered at UCDavis to the Complexity Sciences Center.

Non-finite Processes in Human Social Phenomena

Simon DeDeo, Santa Fe Institute

10:30 AM, Wednesday, October 17th

Physics 195

Computational models of social and biological phenomena have often focused on the finite-state case. In this work, I present a mathematical result, the Probabilistic Pumping Lemma, that constrains the behavior of all finite state processes. I then present evidence for violation of this Lemma, and thus statistical evidence for the emergence of non-finite computation, in cooperative phenomena associated with the collectively-edited encyclopedia Wikipedia. I distinguish between psychological, or individual-level, and collective aspects of this violation, and present evidence for the existence of separate Universality Classes for the two cases.

Methods[edit]

Statistical analysis of public data (revisions, revision timing, revert behavior, linguistic structure of comment fields). We do not do subject recruitment.

Dissemination[edit]

Public lectures; technical talks; publication in Open Access journals including archiving of versions at [1].

Wikimedia Policies, Ethics, and Human Subjects Protection[edit]

Per discussions with our local IRB contact, IRB approval is not required for this work.

Benefits for the Wikimedia community[edit]

Why does Wikipedia work so well? What are the signatures of a "healthy" community? How does the nature of the editing process change as one goes from single-user to collaborative endeavours?

Timeline[edit]

October 2012 -- October 2013: talks delivered; recruitment of research student; publication of first results. October 2013 -- October 2014: follow-up research; additional release of results as found.

Funding[edit]

  • Omidyar Postdoctoral Fellowship (supporting PI). Funded by the Pierre and Pam Omidyar Foundation.
  • Research also relevant to National Science Foundation Emerging Frontiers Grant EF-1137929 (Information Theory in Biological Processes); not directly funded on this grant.

References[edit]

  • Early results and discussion presented at SFI Complex Systems Summer School 2012. See Emergence Lectures.
  • Early results presented at University of California, Davis, Department of Physics (October, 2012).

External links[edit]

PI Webpage.

Contacts[edit]

simon[at]santafe.edu