19 December 2019

Entropy Best Presentation Award at the Complexity, Criticality and Computation Symposium (C3-2019)

We are pleased to announce the winner of the presentation award that Entropy sponsored at the Complexity, Criticality and Computation Symposium (C3-2019) held at the University of Sydney (Camperdown, Australia) on 2–5 December 2019.

"Fishy Business: Noise-Induced Schooling in Fish" by
Richard Morris

I reported on our work concerning the dynamics of collective alignment in groups of the cichlid fish, Etroplus suratensis. Focusing on small-to-intermediate sized groups (10 < N < 100), we demonstrate that schooling (highly polarised and coherent motion) is noise-induced, arising from the intrinsic stochasticity associated with finite numbers of interacting fish. The fewer the fish, the greater the (multiplicative) noise and therefore the likelihood of alignment. Such rare empirical evidence tightly constrains the possible underlying interactions that govern fish alignment, suggesting that E. suratensis either spontaneously change their direction or copy the direction of other fish, without any local averaging (the otherwise canonical mechanism of collective alignment). The work highlights the importance of stochasticity in behavioural inference: rather than simply obscuring otherwise deterministic dynamics, noise can be fundamental to the characterisation of emergent collective behaviours.


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