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advection equation, case‐based modeling, differential equations, Lyapunov density, genetic algorithms


Social Statistics | Sociology | Statistics and Probability


This article introduces a new case‐based density approach to modeling big data longitudinally, which uses ordinary differential equations and the linear advection partial differential equations (PDE) to treat macroscopic, dynamical change as a transport issue of aggregate cases across continuous time. The novelty of this approach comes from its unique data‐driven treatment of cases: which are K dimensional vectors; where the velocity vector for each case is computed according to its particular measurements on some set of empirically defined social, psychological, or biological variables. The three main strengths of this approach are its ability to: (1) translate the data driven, nonlinear trajectories of microscopic constituents (cases) into the linear movement of macroscopic trajectories, which take the form of densities; (2) detect the presence of multiple, complex steady state behaviors, including sinks, spiraling sources, saddles, periodic orbits, and attractor points; and (3) predict the motion of novel cases and time instances. To demonstrate the utility of this approach, we used it to model a recognized cohort dynamic: the longitudinal relationship between a country's per capita gross domestic product (GDP) and its longevity rates. Data for the model came from the widely used Gapminder dataset. Empirical results, including the strength of the model's fit and the novelty of its results (particularly on a topic of such extensive study) support the utility of our new approach. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Complexity 20: 45–57, 2015

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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Hoboken, NJ