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See detailDescribing the complexity of systems: multivariable "set complexity" and the information basis of systems biology.
Galas, David J.; Sakhanenko, Nikita A.; Skupin, Alexander UL et al

in Journal of computational biology: a journal of computational molecular cell biology (2014), 21(2), 118-40

Context dependence is central to the description of complexity. Keying on the pairwise definition of "set complexity," we use an information theory approach to formulate general measures of systems ... [more ▼]

Context dependence is central to the description of complexity. Keying on the pairwise definition of "set complexity," we use an information theory approach to formulate general measures of systems complexity. We examine the properties of multivariable dependency starting with the concept of interaction information. We then present a new measure for unbiased detection of multivariable dependency, "differential interaction information." This quantity for two variables reduces to the pairwise "set complexity" previously proposed as a context-dependent measure of information in biological systems. We generalize it here to an arbitrary number of variables. Critical limiting properties of the "differential interaction information" are key to the generalization. This measure extends previous ideas about biological information and provides a more sophisticated basis for the study of complexity. The properties of "differential interaction information" also suggest new approaches to data analysis. Given a data set of system measurements, differential interaction information can provide a measure of collective dependence, which can be represented in hypergraphs describing complex system interaction patterns. We investigate this kind of analysis using simulated data sets. The conjoining of a generalized set complexity measure, multivariable dependency analysis, and hypergraphs is our central result. While our focus is on complex biological systems, our results are applicable to any complex system. [less ▲]

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