Title: A fast and unbiased procedure to randomize ecological binary matrices with fixed row and column totals
Citation: NATURE COMMUNICATIONS vol. 5 p. 4114
Publication Year: 2014
JRC N°: JRC90108
ISSN: 2041-1723
URI: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140611/ncomms5114/full/ncomms5114.html
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5114
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: A well-known problem in numerical ecology is how to recombine presence-absence matrices without altering row and column totals. A few solutions have been proposed, but all of them present some issues in terms of statistical robustness (i.e. their capability to generate different matrix configurations with the same probability) and their performance (i.e. the computational effort they require to generate a null matrix). Here we introduce the 'Babe Ruth algorithm', a new procedure that differs from existing methods in that it focuses rather on matrix information content than on matrix structure. We demonstrate that the algorithm can sample uniformly the set of all possible matrix configurations requiring a computational effort orders of magnitude lower than that required by available methods, making it possible to easily randomize matrices larger than 108 cells.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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