Rules and Exceptions in Language Dynamics

In all languages, rules have exceptions in the form of irregularities. Since rules make a language efficient, the persistence of irregularity is an anomaly. How language systems become rule governed, how and why they sustain exceptions to rules? Frequent words are unlikely to change over time (e.g., frequent verbs tend to maintain an irregular past tense form). What is the role of frequency in maintaining exceptions to rules?… Read the rest

Mixing by degree in signed social networks

Social networks have empirically been found to be assortative (i.e., the degree of neighboring nodes are positively correlated), while other networks (e.g., technological, biological) show the opposite pattern (disassortative). Why is that so?
How do these patterns change in signed networks, where relations indicate trust/distrust, friendship/enmity? Do individuals who dislike many others tend to dislike each other, or do they dislike those who dislike only very few others?… Read the rest

What is Econophysics?

Collective phenomena in economics, social sciences and ecology are very attractive for statistical physicists, especially in view of the empirical abundance of non-trivial fluctuation patterns and statistical regularities — think of returns in financial markets or of allometric scaling in ecosystems — which pose intriguing theoretical challenges. On an abstract level, the problems at stake are indeed not too different from, say, understanding how spontaneous magnetization may arise in a magnetic system, since what one wants in both cases is to understand how the effects of interactions at the microscopic scale can build up to the macroscopic scale.… Read the rest

Scale-free networks

Scale-Free Networks are present in a wide list of phenomena. Examples range from the structure of the Internet and that of the WWW (we shall see in the following that they are different systems) to the interconnections between financial agents or species predation in ecological food webs. Thanks to the simplicity of graph theory it is very easy to provide a network description for different systems.… Read the rest