a crude look at the whole the science of complex systems in business life and society

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A Crude Look At The Whole

Author : John H. Miller
ISBN : 9780465073863
Genre : Science
File Size : 78. 69 MB
Format : PDF, Kindle
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Imagine trying to understand a stained glass window by breaking it into pieces and examining it one shard at a time. While you could probably learn a lot about each piece, you would have no idea about what the entire picture looks like. This is reductionism—the idea that to understand the world we only need to study its pieces—and it is how most social scientists approach their work. In A Crude Look at the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller shows why we need to start looking at whole pictures. For one thing, whether we are talking about stock markets, computer networks, or biological organisms, individual parts only make sense when we remember that they are part of larger wholes. And perhaps more importantly, those wholes can take on behaviors that are strikingly different from that of their pieces. Miller, a leading expert in the computational study of complex adaptive systems, reveals astounding global patterns linking the organization of otherwise radically different structures: It might seem crude, but a beehive's temperature control system can help predict market fluctuations and a mammal's heartbeat can help us understand the “heartbeat” of a city and adapt urban planning accordingly. From enduring racial segregation to sudden stock market disasters, once we start drawing links between complex systems, we can start solving what otherwise might be totally intractable problems. Thanks to this revolutionary perspective, we can finally transcend the limits of reductionism and discover crucial new ideas. Scientifically founded and beautifully written, A Crude Look at the Whole is a powerful exploration of the challenges that we face as a society. As it reveals, taking the crude look might be the only way to truly see.

A Crude Look At The Whole

Author : John Miller
ISBN : 9780465073863
Genre : Science
File Size : 86. 37 MB
Format : PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download : 780
Read : 518

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Imagine trying to understand a stained glass window by breaking it into pieces and examining it one shard at a time. While you could probably learn a lot about each piece, you would have no idea about what the entire picture looks like. This is reductionism—the idea that to understand the world we only need to study its pieces—and it is how most social scientists approach their work. In A Crude Look at the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller shows why we need to start looking at whole pictures. For one thing, whether we are talking about stock markets, computer networks, or biological organisms, individual parts only make sense when we remember that they are part of larger wholes. And perhaps more importantly, those wholes can take on behaviors that are strikingly different from that of their pieces. Miller, a leading expert in the computational study of complex adaptive systems, reveals astounding global patterns linking the organization of otherwise radically different structures: It might seem crude, but a beehive’s temperature control system can help predict market fluctuations and a mammal’s heartbeat can help us understand the “heartbeat” of a city and adapt urban planning accordingly. From enduring racial segregation to sudden stock market disasters, once we start drawing links between complex systems, we can start solving what otherwise might be totally intractable problems. Thanks to this revolutionary perspective, we can finally transcend the limits of reductionism and discover crucial new ideas. Scientifically founded and beautifully written, A Crude Look at the Whole is a powerful exploration of the challenges that we face as a society. As it reveals, taking the crude look might be the only way to truly see.

A Crude Look At The Whole

Author : Miller H. John
ISBN : 0465055699
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 50. 62 MB
Format : PDF, ePub, Mobi
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From economic meltdowns to how people cooperate, there is much about the human world that eludes our understanding. John Miller, a leading expert in the computational study of complex adaptive systems, shows in A Crude Look at the Whole how a range of studies in the natural and social sciences can help us better understand our most pressing problems. The key is to avoid reductionism--simplifying important systems down to a few apparently essential variables in hopes of finding the means for control. Instead, Miller would have us deal with rougher sketches of phenomena. Those pictures may be cruder, but they show us similarities between a mammal’s heartbeat and the "heartbeat” of a city that add to our understanding of urban growth and planning, or help us see how throwing aside detail-obsessed methodologies like Six Sigma can speed the discovery of vital new goods and ideas. Ultimately, Miller argues, by understanding the complex systems underlying the major societal issues of our time, from enduring racial segregation to sudden stock-market disasters, we will be better equipped to confront and anticipate such challenges before they put an end to us. In A Crude Look at the Whole, Miller gives us a powerful exploration of these challenges and presents his field’s most vital work to answer this compelling question: how can we learn enough to make the most of our economy, our world, and ourselves?

Diversity And Complexity

Author : Scott E. Page
ISBN : 1400835143
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 55. 16 MB
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This book provides an introduction to the role of diversity in complex adaptive systems. A complex system--such as an economy or a tropical ecosystem--consists of interacting adaptive entities that produce dynamic patterns and structures. Diversity plays a different role in a complex system than it does in an equilibrium system, where it often merely produces variation around the mean for performance measures. In complex adaptive systems, diversity makes fundamental contributions to system performance. Scott Page gives a concise primer on how diversity happens, how it is maintained, and how it affects complex systems. He explains how diversity underpins system level robustness, allowing for multiple responses to external shocks and internal adaptations; how it provides the seeds for large events by creating outliers that fuel tipping points; and how it drives novelty and innovation. Page looks at the different kinds of diversity--variations within and across types, and distinct community compositions and interaction structures--and covers the evolution of diversity within complex systems and the factors that determine the amount of maintained diversity within a system. Provides a concise and accessible introduction Shows how diversity underpins robustness and fuels tipping points Covers all types of diversity The essential primer on diversity in complex adaptive systems

Principles Of Systems Science

Author : George E Mobus
ISBN : 9781493919208
Genre : Science
File Size : 67. 30 MB
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This pioneering text provides a comprehensive introduction to systems structure, function, and modeling as applied in all fields of science and engineering. Systems understanding is increasingly recognized as a key to a more holistic education and greater problem solving skills, and is also reflected in the trend toward interdisciplinary approaches to research on complex phenomena. While the concepts and components of systems science will continue to be distributed throughout the various disciplines, undergraduate degree programs in systems science are also being developed, including at the authors’ own institutions. However, the subject is approached, systems science as a basis for understanding the components and drivers of phenomena at all scales should be viewed with the same importance as a traditional liberal arts education. Principles of Systems Science contains many graphs, illustrations, side bars, examples, and problems to enhance understanding. From basic principles of organization, complexity, abstract representations, and behavior (dynamics) to deeper aspects such as the relations between information, knowledge, computation, and system control, to higher order aspects such as auto-organization, emergence and evolution, the book provides an integrated perspective on the comprehensive nature of systems. It ends with practical aspects such as systems analysis, computer modeling, and systems engineering that demonstrate how the knowledge of systems can be used to solve problems in the real world. Each chapter is broken into parts beginning with qualitative descriptions that stand alone for students who have taken intermediate algebra. The second part presents quantitative descriptions that are based on pre-calculus and advanced algebra, providing a more formal treatment for students who have the necessary mathematical background. Numerous examples of systems from every realm of life, including the physical and biological sciences, humanities, social sciences, engineering, pre-med and pre-law, are based on the fundamental systems concepts of boundaries, components as subsystems, processes as flows of materials, energy, and messages, work accomplished, functions performed, hierarchical structures, and more. Understanding these basics enables further understanding both of how systems endure and how they may become increasingly complex and exhibit new properties or characteristics. Serves as a textbook for teaching systems fundamentals in any discipline or for use in an introductory course in systems science degree programs Addresses a wide range of audiences with different levels of mathematical sophistication Includes open-ended questions in special boxes intended to stimulate integrated thinking and class discussion Describes numerous examples of systems in science and society Captures the trend towards interdisciplinary research and problem solving

Shopping For Identity

Author : Marilyn Halter
ISBN : 9780307427700
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 61. 97 MB
Format : PDF
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In America today, you can connect to your ethnic heritage in dozens of ways, or adopt an identity just for an evening. Our society is not a melting pot but a salad bar--a bazaar in which the purveyors of goods and services spend close to $2 billion a year marketing the foods, clothing, objects, vacations, and events that help people express their (and others') ethnic identities. This is a huge business, whose target groups are the "hyphenated Americans"--in other words, all of us. As immigrant groups gain economic security, they tend to reinforce--not relinquish--their ethnic identification. Marilyn Halter demonstrates that, to a great extent, they do it by shopping. And their purchasing power is enormous. How has the marketplace responded to this hunger? Instantly and wholeheartedly: tweaking old products and inventing new ones; launching new brands in supermarkets, new music groups, vacation itineraries, language courses, toys, greeting cards, et cetera. This nexus of business and ethnicity is already seen as the hottest consumer development of this decade, and Halter is uniquely qualified to describe its origins, the exponential growth of products and advertising, and the phenomenal sales of items from salsa to Chieftains CDs. She addresses her subject with an abundance of anecdotal evidence, telling examples of ethnic marketing, and interviews with entrepreneurs (many of them immigrants) who are vigorously seizing the opportunities offered by the business of ethnicity. Shopping for Identity is provocative, intriguing, and farseeing, illuminating an important aspect of our contemporary way of life while validating the yearning we all feel for connection to our roots. From the Hardcover edition.

Resilience

Author : Andrew Zolli
ISBN : 9781451683844
Genre : Science
File Size : 52. 51 MB
Format : PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Discover a powerful new lens for viewing the world with fascinating implications for our companies, economies, societies, and planet as a whole. What causes one system to break down and another to rebound? Are we merely subject to the whim of forces beyond our control? Or, in the face of constant disruption, can we build better shock absorbers—for ourselves, our communities, our economies, and for the planet as a whole? Reporting firsthand from the coral reefs of Palau to the back streets of Palestine, Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy relate breakthrough scientific discoveries, pioneering social and ecological innovations, and important new approaches to constructing a more resilient world. Zolli and Healy show how this new concept of resilience is a powerful lens through which we can assess major issues afresh: from business planning to social develop­ment, from urban planning to national energy security—circumstances that affect us all. Provocative, optimistic, and eye-opening, Resilience sheds light on why some systems, people, and communities fall apart in the face of disruption and, ultimately, how they can learn to bounce back.

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