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Technique may reveal where it all began

Modeling strategy can help trace roots of widespread phenomena

5:38pm, March 2, 2012

BOSTON — Predicting the future is notoriously difficult, but uncovering the past can be just as tricky. Now researchers have developed a method that looks backward and may reveal where a widespread phenomenon originated, be it the outbreak of a disease or a new technology.

Typically techniques for deriving the origin of something rely on the notion that whatever is spreading will take a certain time to travel a certain distance. But with planes, trains and automobiles, geographic distance by itsel

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