New Tech Can Spot Warning Signs of Tremendous Events

Boston, Sep 24 (PTI) MIT scientists developed a new algorithm that can predict tremendous events that are likely to occur in the real world, by spotting instabilities that may affect climate, aircraft performance or ocean circulation.
It is nearly impossible to predict when such bursts of instability will strike, particularly in systems with a complex and ever-changing mix of players and pieces. Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have devised a framework for identifying key patterns that precede an tremendous event.


Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have devised a framework for identifying key patterns that precede an severe event. The framework can be applied to a wide range of complicated, multidimensional systems to pick out the warning signs that are most likely to occur in the real world. “Currently there is no method to explain when these extreme events occur,” said Themistoklis Sapsis, associate professor at MIT.
In predicting tremendous events in complex systems, scientists have typically attempted to solve sets of dynamical equations - incredibly complex mathematical formulas that, once solved, can predict the state of a complex system over time. Researchers can plug into such equations a set of initial conditions, or values for certain variables, and solve the equations under those conditions. If the result yields a state that is considered an tremendous event in the system, scientists can conclude that those initial conditions must be a precursor, or warning sign. Aside from equations, scientists have also looked through available data on real-world systems to pick out characteristic warning patterns. 


However, extreme events occur only rarely, and if one were to rely solely on data, they would need an enormous amount of data, over a long period of time, to be able to identify precursors with any certainty.

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