Local information transfer as a spatiotemporal filter for complex systems

Joseph T. Lizier*, Mikhail Prokopenko, Albert Y. Zomaya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Citations (Scopus)


We present a measure of local information transfer, derived from an existing averaged information-theoretical measure, namely, transfer entropy. Local transfer entropy is used to produce profiles of the information transfer into each spatiotemporal point in a complex system. These spatiotemporal profiles are useful not only as an analytical tool, but also allow explicit investigation of different parameter settings and forms of the transfer entropy metric itself. As an example, local transfer entropy is applied to cellular automata, where it is demonstrated to be a useful method of filtering for coherent structure. More importantly, local transfer entropy provides the first quantitative evidence for the long-held conjecture that the emergent traveling coherent structures known as particles (both gliders and domain walls, which have analogs in many physical processes) are the dominant information transfer agents in cellular automata.

Original languageEnglish
Article number026110
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


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