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On the physical interpretation of statistical data from black-box systems


  • Eliazar, Iddo I.
  • Cohen, Morrel H.


In this paper we explore the physical interpretation of statistical data collected from complex black-box systems. Given the output statistics of a black-box system, and considering a class of relevant Markov dynamics which are physically meaningful, we reverse-engineer the Markov dynamics to obtain an equilibrium distribution that coincides with the output statistics observed. This reverse-engineering scheme provides us with a conceptual physical interpretation of the black-box system investigated. Five specific reverse-engineering methodologies are developed, based on the following dynamics: Langevin, geometric Langevin, diffusion, growth-collapse, and decay-surge. In turn, these methodologies yield physical interpretations of the black-box system in terms of conceptual intrinsic forces, temperatures, and instabilities. The application of these methodologies is exemplified in the context of the distribution of wealth and income in human societies, which are outputs of the complex black-box system called “the economy”.

Suggested Citation

  • Eliazar, Iddo I. & Cohen, Morrel H., 2013. "On the physical interpretation of statistical data from black-box systems," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(13), pages 2924-2939.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:392:y:2013:i:13:p:2924-2939
    DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2013.02.021

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alfarano, Simone & Milakovic, Mishael, 2008. "Does classical competition explain the statistical features of firm growth?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 272-274, December.
    2. Alfarano, Simone & Milaković, Mishael & Irle, Albrecht & Kauschke, Jonas, 2012. "A statistical equilibrium model of competitive firms," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 136-149.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luckstead, Jeff & Devadoss, Stephen & Danforth, Diana, 2017. "The size distributions of all Indian cities," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 474(C), pages 237-249.
    2. Luckstead, Jeff & Devadoss, Stephen, 2017. "Pareto tails and lognormal body of US cities size distribution," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 465(C), pages 573-578.


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