Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Open problem


How to determine the community structure of complex networks is an open question. It is critical to establish the best strategies for community detection in networks of unknown structure. Here, using standard synthetic benchmarks, we show that none of the algorithms hitherto developed for community structure characterization perform optimally. Significantly, evaluating the results according to their modularity, the most popular measure of the quality of a partition, systematically provides mistaken solutions. However, a novel quality function, called Surprise, can be used to elucidate which is the optimal division into communities. Consequently, we show that the best strategy to find the community structure of all the networks examined involves choosing among the solutions provided by multiple algorithms the one with the highest Surprise value. We conclude that Surprise maximization precisely reveals the community structure of complex networks.

Concepts: Mathematics, Social sciences, 2006 albums, Strategy, Community, Complex network, Open problem, Community structure


There is a rising concern regarding the accumulation of floating plastic debris in the open ocean. However, the magnitude and the fate of this pollution are still open questions. Using data from the Malaspina 2010 circumnavigation, regional surveys, and previously published reports, we show a worldwide distribution of plastic on the surface of the open ocean, mostly accumulating in the convergence zones of each of the five subtropical gyres with comparable density. However, the global load of plastic on the open ocean surface was estimated to be on the order of tens of thousands of tons, far less than expected. Our observations of the size distribution of floating plastic debris point at important size-selective sinks removing millimeter-sized fragments of floating plastic on a large scale. This sink may involve a combination of fast nano-fragmentation of the microplastic into particles of microns or smaller, their transference to the ocean interior by food webs and ballasting processes, and processes yet to be discovered. Resolving the fate of the missing plastic debris is of fundamental importance to determine the nature and significance of the impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean.

Concepts: Mathematics, Ocean, Marine debris, Open problem, Convergence, The Missing, Sink, Convergence zone


In this paper, a biologically inspired multilevel approach for simultaneously detecting multiple independently moving targets from airborne forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sequences is proposed. Due to the moving platform, low contrast infrared images, and nonrepeatability of the target signature, moving targets detection from FLIR sequences is still an open problem. Avoiding six parameter affine or eight parameter planar projective transformation matrix estimation of two adjacent frames, which are utilized by existing moving targets detection approaches to cope with the moving infrared camera and have become the bottleneck for the further elevation of the moving targets detection performance, the proposed moving targets detection approach comprises three sequential modules: motion perception for efficiently extracting motion cues, attended motion views extraction for coarsely localizing moving targets, and appearance perception in the local attended motion views for accurately detecting moving targets. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed approach is efficient and outperforms the compared state-of-the-art approaches.

Concepts: Mathematics, Detection theory, Open problem, Open problems, Infrared photography, Film and video technology, Infrared imaging, Infra-red search and track


In recent years, sparse coding has been widely used in many applications ranging from image processing to pattern recognition. Most existing sparse coding based applications require solving a class of challenging non-smooth and non-convex optimization problems. Despite the fact that many numerical methods have been developed for solving these problems, it remains an open problem to find a numerical method which is not only empirically fast, but also has mathematically guaranteed strong convergence. In this paper, we propose an alternating iteration scheme for solving such problems. A rigorous convergence analysis shows that the proposed method satisfies the global convergence property: the whole sequence of iterates is convergent and converges to a critical point. Besides the theoretical soundness, the practical benefit of the proposed method is validated in applications including image restoration and recognition. Experiments show that the proposed method achieves similar results with less computation when compared to widely used methods such as K-SVD.

Concepts: Scientific method, Mathematics, Science, Problem solving, Optimization, Numerical analysis, Open problem, Convergence


Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) has demonstrated promising performance in single-label image classification tasks. However, how CNN best copes with multi-label images still remains an open problem, mainly due to the complex underlying object layouts and insufficient multi-label training images. In this work, we propose a flexible deep CNN infrastructure, called Hypotheses-CNN-Pooling (HCP), where an arbitrary number of object segment hypotheses are taken as the inputs, then a shared CNN is connected with each hypothesis, and finally the CNN output results from different hypotheses are aggregated with max pooling to produce the ultimate multi-label predictions. Some unique characteristics of this flexible deep CNN infrastructure include: 1) no ground-truth bounding box information is required for training; 2) the whole HCP infrastructure is robust to possibly noisy and/or redundant hypotheses; 3) the shared CNN is flexible and can be well pre-trained with a large-scale single-label image dataset, e.g., ImageNet; and 4) it may naturally output multi-label prediction results. Experimental results on Pascal VOC 2007 and VOC 2012 multi-label image datasets well demonstrate the superiority of the proposed HCP infrastructure over other state-of-the-arts. In particular, the mAP reaches 90.5% by HCP only and 93.2% after the fusion with our complementary result in [44] based on hand-crafted features on the VOC 2012 dataset.

Concepts: Scientific method, Mathematics, Prediction, Experiment, Hypothesis, Thought experiment, Open problem, Open problems


Music genre classification is a challenging research concept, for which open questions remain regarding classification approach, music piece representation, distances between/within genres, and so on. In this paper an investigation on the classification of generated music pieces is performed, based on the idea that grouping close related known pieces in different sets -or clusters- and then generating in an automatic way a new song which is somehow “inspired” in each set, the new song would be more likely to be classified as belonging to the set which inspired it, based on the same distance used to separate the clusters. Different music pieces representations and distances among pieces are used; obtained results are promising, and indicate the appropriateness of the used approach even in a such a subjective area as music genre classification is.

Concepts: Distance, My Chemical Romance, Open problem, Genre, The Used, Music genre, Piece, Music genres


Single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) has emerged as a revolutionary tool that allows us to address scientific questions that eluded examination just a few years ago. With the advantages of scRNA-seq come computational challenges that are just beginning to be addressed. In this article, we highlight the computational methods available for the design and analysis of scRNA-seq experiments, their advantages and disadvantages in various settings, the open questions for which novel methods are needed, and expected future developments in this exciting area.

Concepts: Mathematics, Science, Science fiction, Open problem, IP address


Quantum theory has linked microscopic currents and macroscopic polarizations of ferroelectrics, but the interplay of lattice excitations and charge dynamics on atomic length and time scales is an open problem. Upon phonon excitation in the prototypical ferroelectric ammonium sulfate [(NH4)2SO4], we determine transient charge density maps by femtosecond x-ray diffraction. A newly discovered low frequency-mode with a 3 ps period and sub-picometer amplitudes induces periodic charge relocations over some 100 pm, a hallmark of soft-mode behavior. The transient charge density allows for deriving the macroscopic polarization, showing a periodic reversal of polarity.

Concepts: Diffraction, X-ray, Optics, Fundamental physics concepts, Electromagnetic radiation, Condensed matter physics, Sound, Open problem


We summarize content from the opening thematic session of the 20th anniversary meeting for Biomechanics and Neural Control of Movement (BANCOM). Scientific discoveries from the past 20 years of research are covered, highlighting the impacts of rapid technological, computational, and financial growth on motor control research. We discuss spinal-level communication mechanisms, relationships between muscle structure and function, and direct cortical movement representations that can be decoded in the control of neuroprostheses. In addition to summarizing the rich scientific ideas shared during the session, we reflect on research infrastructure and capacity that contributed to progress in the field, and outline unresolved issues and remaining open questions.

Concepts: Scientific method, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Science, Engineering, Motor control, Motor skill, Open problem


The function of the brain is unlikely to be understood without an accurate description of its output, yet the nature of movement elements and their organization remains an open problem. Here, movement elements are identified from dynamics of walking in flies, using unbiased criteria. On one time scale, dynamics of walking are consistent over hundreds of milliseconds, allowing elementary features to be defined. Over longer periods, walking is well described by a stochastic process composed of these elementary features, and a generative model of this process reproduces individual behavior sequences accurately over seconds or longer. Within elementary features, velocities diverge, suggesting that dynamical stability of movement elements is a weak behavioral constraint. Rather, long-term instability can be limited by the finite memory between these elementary features. This structure suggests how complex dynamics may arise in biological systems from elements whose combination need not be tuned for dynamic stability.

Concepts: Time, Psychology, Mathematics, Systems theory, Model theory, Dynamics, Complex analysis, Open problem