Don't miss the upcoming episode of NOVA Wonders, titled "Are We Alone" featuring our very own Paul Davies.
The episode will air on Arizona PBS tomorrow (May 9, 2018) at 8:00 p.m. and is sure to be a fascinating show. Following the release, you can watch the episode online at anytime via http://www.pbs.org/show/nova/.
We are pleased to announce that Inform, a cross-platform C library for information-theoretic analysis of dynamical systems, is now in print (doi: 10.3389/frobt.2018.00060). Inform uses high-level wrappers, including Python and R, to expedite the application of information theory to dynamical systems without sacrificing performance.
Inform easily converts time series observations into distributions and has a huge repertoire of information measures that can be applied to these distributions, including Shannon Entropy, Mutual Information, Transfer Entropy, and Active Information - to name just a few. Application of Inform is extremely simple. For example, using PyInform, we can compute the Active Information of a dynamical series in a single line of code:
To download inform and see the full list of Inform functions visit the documentation at https://elife-asu.github.io/Inform/.
Sara Walker will join a panel of scientists and philosophers to discuss organic and electronic intelligence, and which we might discover first, at the World Science Festival. Full event details below:
E.T. PHONE HOME: ALIENS AND THE NATURE OF LIFE
SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 2018
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
NYU SKIRBALL CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
If an alien were to “phone” us here at home, what would we expect to be on the other end of the line: biological life, artificial intelligence, or some combination of both? It took only 200,000 years—a blip on the cosmic timeline—for the first sparks of intelligent life to invent artificial intelligence. And since space is big, and life is short—at least biological life, as we know it—it may be that chatter on the cosmic airwaves is dominated by various forms of A.I. Join leaders in philosophy, astrobiology, evolutionary biology, and A.I. to wrestle with the subject of life up there and its implications for life down here.
Sara Walker will participate in a panel discussion on "Possibilities for Non-Terran Life in the Universe" at the upcoming Breakthrough Discuss Conference, to be held Apr. 12-13th at Stanford University. The event will be live streamed, more information is available on the Breakthrough Discuss website.
'rInform', the R wrapper for the 'Inform' library, is now available for easy download using CRAN! As with the 'Inform' library, 'rInform' is structured around the concepts of: 1) discrete empirical probability distributions, which form the basis for all of the information-theoretic measures; 2) classic information-theoretic measures built upon empirical distributions; and 3) measures of information dynamics for time series. In addition to the core components, 'rInform' also provides a collection of utilities to manipulate time series.
Is biology governed by general organizing principles? New research by eLIFE members suggests that the answer is “yes”. Using a dataset that spans tens of thousands of organisms, and thousands of ecosystems, we find that life’s biochemical networks have features which are conserved across scales of biological organization (i.e. individuals, ecosystems and the biosphere). These features are distinct from random biochemical controls, and can predict whether a biochemical network belongs to an individual or ecosystem, or even a specific domain of life! These results suggest a logic to the planetary-scale organization of biochemistry, and have implications for the transition from a life-less Earth to the one we live on today! Check out the details in the newly updated bioRxiv paper: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/03/03/212118
Sara Walker delivers a talk for the Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe on the topic of "Systems Biosignatures" as part of the National Academies ad hoc committee public sessions. The full agenda for all public sessions are available here (including remote viewing options).
Sara Walker will be featured on "Ask an Astrobiologist" on Feb 28th at 10AM Pacific time. The live show is broadcast on SAGANet.org.
Sara Imari Walker