"The evolution of knowledge systems" by François Lafond

Past Event

10 June 2014, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Said Business School
Park End Street, Oxford OX1 1HP

This seminar is hosted by the Oxford Martin Programme on Complexity, Risk and Resilience; The Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School and the CABDyN Centre

Speaker: François Lafond, Research Fellow, London Institute for Mathematical Sciences (LIMS), and Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School

Abstract: The creation and allocation of economic wealth ultimately relies on the creation and diffusion of knowledge. As a result, understanding the dynamics, organisation and viability of economies requires an in?depth analysis of knowledge systems. This work proposes to study knowledge systems as growing two?mode (bipartite) networks. It is found that: (i) through self?organisation, innovation and face?to?face diffusion result in a stable power law distribution of ideas' popularity; (ii) this dynamic is compatible with the observed (shifted) power law distribution of citations among scientific papers, and (iii) the generalized beta size?rank relation observed for patent classes can be explained by a slowdown in the growth of the number of classes, relative to the number of patents. The general lesson from this work is that knowledge systems often exhibit non?equilibrium and non?linear dynamics, casting some doubts as to their long term viability.

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