Measuring diversity: the axiomatic approach
- October 21 (Fri) at 16:00 - 17:00, 2022 (JST)
- Prof. Tom Leinster (Professor, University of Edinburgh, UK)
- via Zoom
- Ryosuke Iritani
Ecologists have been debating the best way to measure diversity for more than 50 years. The concept of diversity is relevant not only in ecology, but also in other fields such as genetics and economics, as well as being closely related to entropy. The question of how best to quantify diversity has surprising mathematical depth. I will argue that the best approach is axiomatic: to enable us to reason logically about diversity, the measures we use must satisfy certain mathematical conditions, and those conditions dramatically limit the choice of measures. This point will be illustrated with a theorem: using a simple model of ecosystems, the only diversity measures that behave logically are the Hill numbers, which are very closely related to the Rényi entropies of information theory.
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