BIDS Data Science Lecture: The statistical mechanics of big data

Speaker - Featured: John Harte, Professor, Energy & Resources Group, UC Berkeley

3/14/2019

3:10pm - 4:00pm

Location: 190, Doe Library

Constrained maximization of information entropy yields least biased probability distributions and provides a framework for construction of complex systems theory. From physics to economics, from forensics to medicine, this powerful inference method has enriched science. Here I explain this method, apply it to ecology, and show that it predicts the detailed shapes of numerous patterns in nature that are of interest to ecologists. In relatively undisturbed ecosystems the theory works remarkably well, but a systematic pattern of failure is observed for ecosystems either losing species following anthropogenic disturbance or diversifying in historical time. An approach to extending the theory to rapidly changing systems will be sketched.

  • Sponsor:

    Berkeley Institute for Data Science
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