Numbers warn of looming collapses

Numbers warn of looming collapses

Math tools predict when systems are on the brink

By Rachel Ehrenberg, 14:09 PM February 8, 2012

Brains have seizures, ecosystems collapse, economies crash — and it sure would be great if we could predict when. Despite the complexity of these seemingly disparate events, recent research suggests that tipping points are foreseeable.

A study published online February 2 in PLoS Computational Biology offers a way to discern when a complex system such as a fishery may be teetering towards collapse. The new work uses mathematical indicators to help researchers understand systems when there’s ...

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