Mauro publishes chapter about research to understand hidden structures in complex systems

Dec 10, 2015

Nicholas Mauro, North Central College assistant professor of physics, is coauthor of a chapter in the 2016 book, “Information Science for Materials Discovery and Design,” published by Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

Titled “Inference of Hidden Structures in Complex Physical Systems by Multi-scale Clustering,” the chapter is coauthored by Mauro, a materials physicist, and Zohar Nussinov of Washington University, Peter Ronhove of Findlay University, Dandan Hu of Findlay University, Saurish Chakrabarty of Indian Institute of Science, M. Sahu of Washington University, Bo Sun of Washington University and Kisor K. Sahu of Indian Institute of Science.

Their collective work focuses broadly on developing new materials for a range of applications. Their published chapter centers on how they conduct experiments on metallic glasses, use that information to generate a model of the atomic structure and then use sophisticated analysis techniques, including data mining and machine learning to discover natural atomic subgroupings in the system. Because there is no repeating unit cell, as in a crystal, the structure of a glass is characterized by a wide range of atomic structures. Their work discusses how they can naturally determine communities of atoms rather than invoke assumptions about which system properties are important.  

“While I focus on this technique to solve problems in material science, the idea of community detection or ‘the wisdom of crowds’ is applicable in lots of problems,” says Mauro, “such as how should cities or communities of people be organized to optimize resources or when do weather patterns begin to generate local storms.”

Click here to view Mauro’s faculty profile.