Abelian consulting and Lévy consulting

Eric Jonas once asked me on Twitter whether I was an Abelian consultant. The pun is an allusion to Abelian groups, groups in which the group operation commutes.

No, I’m not an Abelian consultant. I don’t have a regular commute. I’m more of a Lévy consultant. A Lévy distribution has heavy tails. That is, it is often near the origin, but occasionally takes very long excursions.

I vaguely remember a couple papers about the Lévy distribution, one saying that whale migration follows such a distribution, and another saying that human movements do too.

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5 thoughts on “Abelian consulting and Lévy consulting

  1. “I vaguely remember a couple papers about the Lévy distribution, one saying that whale migration follows such a distribution, and another saying that human movements do too.”

    There’s a big literature on movement and heavy-tailed distributions, driven by the fact that many biologically-relevant mechanisms produce heavy tails. If something moves under its own power (and often even when not) you’ll get a heavy tailed movement distribution. You’re in good company.

  2. I don’t understand the connection between something moving under its own power and heavy tailed distributions. What gives human movement a heavy tailed distribution is that we sometimes do not move under our own power. We often walk, sometimes drive, and less often fly.

  3. I’m a Cantor consultant. My periods of uninterrupted work at my desk are nowhere continuous, but that’s where you will almost surely find me.

  4. @John: the connection is that animals which move under their own power typically have resources they pursue and sometimes consume. Consuming resources entails less movement than pursuing them, maybe the direction of the resource is not obvious, maybe the environment the animal moves through is more or less challenging to pass through. All of these result in variation in the rate of movement. That’s all you need to have heavy-tailed movement distributions.

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