A Quick Diagram of Weak Signal Detection

Jodie Foster in  Contact , © 1997 Warner Bros., USA

Jodie Foster in Contact, © 1997 Warner Bros., USA

Last night, frustrated with the noise on the Internet, I asked my brother Kyle, a computer scientist at Northwestern University, for a math-free description of weak signal detection. He drew this impromptu infographic: 

Weak Signal Detection.JPG

Our (also relatively math-free) working understanding is that weak signal detection is the process of finding the first signs of coherence within a complex system--the signal in the noise. The first hint of a pattern or the appearance of an attractor. 

How would you explain weak signal detection in just a few words? And how do you apply the concept in everyday life?

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