Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Optimizing custody is child's play for physicists

Date:
February 21, 2014
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Ensuring that parents in recomposed families see their children regularly is a complex network problem, according to a new study. The lead researcher set out to resolve one of his real-life problems: finding a suitable weekend for both partners in his recomposed family to see all their children at the same time. He then joined forces with a mathematician and a complex systems expert. The answer they came up with is that such an agreement is not possible, in general.

Ensuring that parents in recomposed families see their children regularly is a complex network problem.

Related Articles


Physics can provide insights into societal trends. Problems involving interactions between people linked in real-life networks can be better understood by using physical models. As a diversion from his normal duties as a theoretical physicist, Andrés Gomberoff from the Andres Bello University in Santiago, Chile, set out to resolve one of his real-life problems:  finding a suitable weekend for both partners in his recomposed family to see all their children at the same time. He then joined forces with a mathematician and a complex systems expert. This resulted in a study published in EPJ B, showing that solving this problem essentially equates to minimizing the energy in a material model.

The authors assume that they deal with a network of people who are connected, either because they are in a current relationship or because they are ex-partners. Another assumption is that all involved in the network are willing to cooperate and communicate in an open manner.

They then attempt to verify whether it is possible to find a custody arrangement whereby all parents see all of their children together every other weekend, thus satisfying the expectations of all members of the network. The answer is that it is not possible, in general, to have such an agreement. 

However, they also found that it is possible to have an arrangement in which one of the parents gets to see all of their children every other weekend.  They also found an algorithm to maximize the level of contentment of members of this extended family network. Maximizing the number of parents spending time with their own children and those of their current partners was akin to minimizing the energy of a particular magnetic material called a spin glass.

Who said that physics can’t have real-life applications?


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrés Gomberoff, Víctor Muñoz, Pierre Paul Romagnoli. The physics of custody. The European Physical Journal B, 2014; 87 (2) DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2014-40666-7

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Optimizing custody is child's play for physicists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140221073837.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2014, February 21). Optimizing custody is child's play for physicists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140221073837.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Optimizing custody is child's play for physicists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140221073837.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers in the country are not alcohol dependent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins