Our Story and Philosophy

InfraNodus is a tool that promotes ecological thinking through cognitive variability and network heuristics. Our objective is to create tools, methodologies, and frameworks that make our perception more adaptable and diverse, in order to avoid totalitarian thinking and enhace our perception.

Today, totalitarian tendencies in society are becoming more and more exacerbated, especially with the advance of social media, echo chambers, and increasing polarization. At the same time, we are also gaining a deeper understanding of how cognition and language works. Contemporary technology provides us with powerful tools and approaches to enhance and scale our thinking processes. We believe that technology can play an important role in helping our culture evolve and transcend the negative tendencies. We want InfraNodus to play an important part in this process.

At the same time, we do not buy into the myths of efficiency and disruption that are so popular among "tech bros" today. Too often disruption means reinstating the old power structures but simply with new protagonists. And efficiency lacks complexity and disregards ecosystems, putting short-term profits ahead of sustainable long-term development. We juxtapose exploration to disruption and interest to efficiency.

Our approach is not designed to make your work more efficient: it can be a side effect, but it's not an objective. Neither we seek to disrupt, but to, rather, explore possibilities and unravel the world in all its polysingularity. We do not believe in balance, but, rather transient non-equilibrium stabilities: patterns of states which are dynamically created and recreated to produce different versions of reality.

We strongly believe that our tools and the languages we speak transform us and the way we think. If we learn the new tools and languages, we can enhance our thinking and augment our cognitive capacities. Network science provides us with the capacity to see complex dynamic relations behind many processes. Ecological thinking helps us perceive things as interconnected systems that do not exist in isolation from their environment. Modern NLP and AI tools can be used to augment our perceptual capacities and help us operate with an ever-growing body of knowledge.

InfraNodus History

The first iteration of InfraNodus was created by Dmitry Paranyushkin in 2007 as ThisIsLike — a tool for associative thinking. Using ThisIsLike, users could find places, writers, philosophers, artists that were like each other. At that moment, Dmitry was fascinated about networks because of Noguchi Taiso and Butoh Dance body practices that he was learning with Imre Thormann. At the same time, he was in constant correspondence with his father, Vladimir Paranyushkin, who used to be a nuclear scientist and who got Dmitry inspired about dynamical systems theory, science, and taught him programming when he was 11.

ThisIsLike went through a few iterations and got transformed into Textexture (you can still see the old website) — which was basically an incarnation of ThisIsLike but for concepts and ideas. At the time, Dmitry was really fascinated with the aesthetics of text visualizations: if we abstracted an image, we could see a text as a sculpture. Visualizing different kinds of texts produced different images: highly interconnected ideologically loaded texts seemed to have a very centralized visual structure, while poetry was dispersed (below you see an example of Leo Tolstoy's prose created using this abstract visualization approach).

Panarchic thinking

During 2008-2011, Dmitry developed the concept of Polysingularity — the ability to see things from multiple perspectives and have access to several positions at once while also maintaining a specific point of view. The interest was both in practical and aesthetic implications of this approach. In order to explore this concept further, he established a research lab — Nodus Labs — dedicated to practical and theoretical applications of network science for education and social contexts.

While Polysingularity was more of a philosophical and artistic concept, Nodus Labs provided a platform to explore it from a scientific perspective and to develop practical tools that could help advance this approach in everyday life. The first version of InfraNodus was published by Nodus Labs in 2014 as an open-source Node.Js repo running on Neo4J graph database. During this time, Dmitry collaborated with Dor Garbash and Alexis Jacomy, who they also worked together with in 2009 on ThisIsLike. Alexis developed a beautiful network visualization module, Sigma.Js, which is still used in InfraNodus today. His brother, Matthieu Jacomy, as well as the team of Gephi (an open source network analysis platform) developed many of the graph algorithms that inspired this first iteration of InfraNodus.

From 2012 to 2018, Dmitry conducted artistic and scientific research into network science and dynamical systems theory, presenting his work in multiple venues and conferences around the world. He was also interested in how this approach can be used for the body and physical movement and together with Kirikoo Des created EightOS Body-Mind Operating System project in 2016. Many of the ideas implemented in InfraNodus later derive from this artistic research. In fact, InfraNodus got a fresh start when Kirikoo Des (also known as NSDOS) approached Dmitry asking him if the interactive network visualization inside the tool could be used as a musical instrument. Together, they worked on an audio-visual implementation of InfraNodus, where it could be used as a midi instrument in live performances. So, perhaps, InfraNodus would not be possible without a certain fascination about art and music.

Active development of InfraNodus started in 2018 when Dmitry released the second version of InfraNodus and started transforming this artistic and scientific research project into a commercial project. In 2021, he started collaborating with Oleg Yarin, who later became InfraNodus' cofounder. Oleg brought in his technical expertise and helped make the product more scalable and resilient. He also helped introduce more AI-based workflows to InfraNodus.

As of 2023, InfraNodus is actively growing the audience and the team, working on enhancing user experience and exploring new approaches to ecological thinking. We publish our research on Nodus Labs website and implement many of the ideas directly into the tool. InfraNodus is what we call an "organic software" — it is developed without artificial fertilizers such as venture capital and is fully funded by our subscribers' monthly contributions (who we thank greatly for giving us an opportunity to develop this product and research). We believe this is a working model for R&D and software development as we are into this for the long-term.

Started as an artistic and research project, InfraNodus is now used by thousands of researchers and thinkers worldwide. It is fascinating to see how some of the concepts that seemed like science fiction 10 years ago are now being used on a regular basis by people around the world to augment their research workflows and to enhance their thinking, writing, and reading.

InfraNodus Approach

InfraNodus approach is based on ecological network thinking, which encourages variable dynamics in cognitive process. Using the different workflows and analytical tools built into our tool, we propose methodology that alternates between scales (high-level ideas vs. underlying concepts) and intent (focus vs. exploration).

We see thinking as a dynamic non-equilrium process that goes through the different stages: growth of an idea, saturation, optimization, and reorganization. We represent these stages using the metrics derived from network science and dynamical systems theory and provide this feedback to the user, so they can adjust their heuristics accordingly, based on their objectives and interests.

Panarchic thinking

Cognitive polysingularity: network variability dynamics.

If you would like to learn more about our approach, please, read the article on our research framework and a brief expalanation of how Infranodus works.

If you are interested to dig deeper into the philosophical and scientific concepts behind InfraNodus, please, check the articles on ecological thinking and cognitive variability.

We really like to hear back, so in case some of the ideas resonate, please, feel free to write to us and share what you're thinking about. The best way to reach us is via the support portal or one of our social network accounts: @noduslabs on Twitter, InfraNodus subreddit, or our discord.


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