New Scientist reports on a new complexity analysis approach to Mexican drug cartels. Pointing out that removing the leader of a cartel is often cited as a major victory in the war on drugs, the article says that in fact more minor players with key connections might be more useful targets. The article explains that the approach
depicts drugs cartels as a complex network with each member as a node and their interactions as lines between them. Algorithms compute the strength and importance of the connections. At first glance, taking out a central “hub” seems like a good idea… But like a hydra, chopping off the head only caused the cartel to splinter into smaller networks.
Apparently this reveals “links that are not otherwise visible… people who are not well-connected, but serve as a bridge linking two groups”, whose removal “could devastate [cartel] operations”. This is not the approach that has been historically taken and the New Scientist has some discussion of the relative merits.
More information: Destroying drug cartels, the mathematical way.
Via @RickCrawf on Twitter.
The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications has launched a new journal, Information and Inference: a Journal of the IMA. This aims to
publish high quality mathematically-oriented articles, furthering the understanding of the theory, methods of analysis, and algorithms for information and data.
Articles should be written in a way accessible to researchers in the associated topics in pure and applied mathematics, statistics, computer sciences, and electrical engineering. Articles are published in, but not limited to: information theory, statistical inference, network analysis, numerical analysis, learning theory, applied and computational harmonic analysis, probability, combinatorics, signal processing, and high-dimensional geometry.
According to the website, “all content will be free to access for the first two years of publication of the journal”. You can sign up for free email table of contents alerts.
The first paper, ‘The masked sample covariance estimator: an analysis using matrix concentration inequalities‘, has been made available for advanced online access.
More information: Oxford Journals: Information and Inference: a Journal of the IMA.