Didier Sornette

Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California (UCLA)
Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis (CNRS-Univ. Nice)

Mechanism for and Detection of Pockets of Predictability in Complex Adaptive Systems


We first document a mechanism operating in complex adaptive systems leading to dynamical pockets of predictability (``prediction days''), in which agents collectively take predetermined courses of action, transiently decoupled from past history.

We demonstrate and test it out-of-sample on synthetic minority and majority games as well as on real financial time series. The surprising large frequency of these prediction days implies a collective organization of agents and of their strategies which condense into transitional herding regimes.

We then present a systematic algorithm testing for the existence of collective self-organization in the behavior of agents in social systems, with a concrete empirical implementation on the Dow Jones Industrial Average index (DJIA) over the 20th century and on Hong Kong Hang Seng composite index (HSI) since 1969. The algorithm combines ideas from critical phenomena, the impact of agents' expectation, multi-scale analysis and the mathematical method of pattern recognition of sparse data.

Trained on the three major crashes in DJIA of the century, our algorithm exhibits a remarkable ability for generalization and detects in advance 8 other significant drops or changes of regimes. An application to HSI gives promising results as well. The results are robust with respect to the variations of the recognition algorithm.

  • Date/Time: Thursday, June 16, 2005, 10:00-12:00.
  • Place: ETH Zentrum, D-MTEC, Kreuzplatz 5, room K14.

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