Deep learning reveals hidden interactions in complex systems

3 Jan 2020  ·  Seungwoong Ha, Hawoong Jeong ·

Rich phenomena from complex systems have long intrigued researchers, and yet modeling system micro-dynamics and inferring the forms of interaction remain challenging for conventional data-driven approaches, being generally established by human scientists. In this study, we propose AgentNet, a model-free data-driven framework consisting of deep neural networks to reveal and analyze the hidden interactions in complex systems from observed data alone. AgentNet utilizes a graph attention network with novel variable-wise attention to model the interaction between individual agents, and employs various encoders and decoders that can be selectively applied to any desired system. Our model successfully captured a wide variety of simulated complex systems, namely cellular automata (discrete), the Vicsek model (continuous), and active Ornstein--Uhlenbeck particles (non-Markovian) in which, notably, AgentNet's visualized attention values coincided with the true interaction strength and exhibited collective behavior that was absent in the training data. A demonstration with empirical data from a flock of birds showed that AgentNet could identify hidden interaction ranges exhibited by real birds, which cannot be detected by conventional velocity correlation analysis. We expect our framework to open a novel path to investigating complex systems and to provide insight into general process-driven modeling.

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