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 Miller
ISBN : 9780465073863
Genre : Science
File Size : 28. 36 MB
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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.

Diversity And Complexity

Author : Scott E. Page
ISBN : 1400835143
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 90. 35 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

Self Organization In Biological Systems

Author : Scott Camazine
ISBN : 0691116245
Genre : Science
File Size : 77. 70 MB
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Researchers are finding in certain patterns in nature - phenomena that have fascinated naturalists for centuries - a fertile approach to understanding biological systems: the study of self-organization. This work introduces readers to the basic concepts and tools for studying self-organization.

Unsimple Truths

Author : Sandra D. Mitchell
ISBN : 9780226532653
Genre : Science
File Size : 64. 6 MB
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The world is complex, but acknowledging its complexity requires an appreciation for the many roles context plays in shaping natural phenomena. In Unsimple Truths, Sandra Mitchell argues that the long-standing scientific and philosophical deference to reductive explanations founded on simple universal laws, linear causal models, and predict-and-act strategies fails to accommodate the kinds of knowledge that many contemporary sciences are providing about the world. She advocates, instead, for a new understanding that represents the rich, variegated, interdependent fabric of many levels and kinds of explanation that are integrated with one another to ground effective prediction and action. Mitchell draws from diverse fields including psychiatry, social insect biology, and studies of climate change to defend “integrative pluralism”—a theory of scientific practices that makes sense of how many natural and social sciences represent the multi-level, multi-component, dynamic structures they study. She explains how we must, in light of the now-acknowledged complexity and contingency of biological and social systems, revise how we conceptualize the world, how we investigate the world, and how we act in the world. Ultimately Unsimple Truths argues that the very idea of what should count as legitimate science itself should change.

The Economy As An Evolving Complex System Ii

Author : W. Brian Arthur
ISBN : 9780429965180
Genre : Mathematics
File Size : 27. 34 MB
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A new view of the economy as an evolving, complex system has been pioneered at the Santa Fe Institute over the last ten years, This volume is a collection of articles that shape and define this view?a view of the economy as emerging from the interactions of individual agents whose behavior constantly evolves, whose strategies and actions are always adapting.The traditional framework in economics portrays activity within an equilibrium steady state. The interacting agents in the economy are typically homogenous, solve well-defined problems using perfect rationality, and act within given legal and social structures. The complexity approach, by contrast, sees economic activity as continually changing?continually in process. The interacting agents are typically heterogeneous, they must cognitively interpret the problems they face, and together they create the structures?markets, legal and social institutions, price patters, expectations?to which they individually react. Such structures may never settle down. Agents may forever adapt and explore and evolve their behaviors within structures that continually emerge and change and disappear?structures these behaviors co-create. This complexity approach does not replace the equilibrium one?it complements it.The papers here collected originated at a recent conference at the Santa Fe Institute, which was called to follow up the well-known 1987 SFI conference organized by Philip Anderson, Kenneth Arrow, and David Pines. They survey the new study of complexity and the economy. They apply this approach to real economic problems and they show the extent to which the initial vision of the 1987 conference has come to fruition.

Complex Adaptive Systems

Author : John H. Miller
ISBN : 1400835526
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 33. 76 MB
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This book provides the first clear, comprehensive, and accessible account of complex adaptive social systems, by two of the field's leading authorities. Such systems--whether political parties, stock markets, or ant colonies--present some of the most intriguing theoretical and practical challenges confronting the social sciences. Engagingly written, and balancing technical detail with intuitive explanations, Complex Adaptive Systems focuses on the key tools and ideas that have emerged in the field since the mid-1990s, as well as the techniques needed to investigate such systems. It provides a detailed introduction to concepts such as emergence, self-organized criticality, automata, networks, diversity, adaptation, and feedback. It also demonstrates how complex adaptive systems can be explored using methods ranging from mathematics to computational models of adaptive agents. John Miller and Scott Page show how to combine ideas from economics, political science, biology, physics, and computer science to illuminate topics in organization, adaptation, decentralization, and robustness. They also demonstrate how the usual extremes used in modeling can be fruitfully transcended.

Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned

Author : Kenneth O Stanley
ISBN : 9783319155241
Genre : Computers
File Size : 41. 65 MB
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Why does modern life revolve around objectives? From how science is funded, to improving how children are educated -- and nearly everything in-between -- our society has become obsessed with a seductive illusion: that greatness results from doggedly measuring improvement in the relentless pursuit of an ambitious goal. In Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned, Stanley and Lehman begin with a surprising scientific discovery in artificial intelligence that leads ultimately to the conclusion that the objective obsession has gone too far. They make the case that great achievement can't be bottled up into mechanical metrics; that innovation is not driven by narrowly focused heroic effort; and that we would be wiser (and the outcomes better) if instead we whole-heartedly embraced serendipitous discovery and playful creativity. Controversial at its heart, yet refreshingly provocative, this book challenges readers to consider life without a destination and discovery without a compass.

Signals And Boundaries

Author : John H. Holland
ISBN : 9780262304979
Genre : Computers
File Size : 40. 51 MB
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Complex adaptive systems (cas), including ecosystems, governments, biological cells, and markets, are characterized by intricate hierarchical arrangements of boundaries and signals. In ecosystems, for example, niches act as semi-permeable boundaries, and smells and visual patterns serve as signals; governments have departmental hierarchies with memoranda acting as signals; and so it is with other cas. Despite a wealth of data and descriptions concerning different cas, there remain many unanswered questions about "steering" these systems. In Signals and Boundaries, John Holland argues that understanding the origin of the intricate signal/border hierarchies of these systems is the key to answering such questions. He develops an overarching framework for comparing and steering cas through the mechanisms that generate their signal/boundary hierarchies.Holland lays out a path for developing the framework that emphasizes agents, niches, theory, and mathematical models. He discusses, among other topics, theory construction; signal-processing agents; networks as representations of signal/boundary interaction; adaptation; recombination and reproduction; the use of tagged urn models (adapted from elementary probability theory) to represent boundary hierarchies; finitely generated systems as a way to tie the models examined into a single framework; the framework itself, illustrated by a simple finitely generated version of the development of a multi-celled organism; and Markov processes.

The Economy As An Evolving Complex System

Author : Philip W. Anderson
ISBN : 0201156857
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 38. 44 MB
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This book proceeds from a meeting at the Santa Fe Institute where economists and physical and biological scientists came together to discuss a conceptual framework incorporating a more appropriate mathematics with a greatly strengthened capacity to deal simultaneously with multiple variables, nonlinearity, incomplete information and dynamical processes.

Non Equilibrium Social Science And Policy

Author : Jeffrey Johnson
ISBN : 9783319424248
Genre : Science
File Size : 75. 71 MB
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The overall aim of this book, an outcome of the European FP7 FET Open NESS project, is to contribute to the ongoing effort to put the quantitative social sciences on a proper footing for the 21st century. A key focus is economics, and its implications on policy making, where the still dominant traditional approach increasingly struggles to capture the economic realities we observe in the world today - with vested interests getting too often in the way of real advances. Insights into behavioral economics and modern computing techniques have made possible both the integration of larger information sets and the exploration of disequilibrium behavior. The domain-based chapters of this work illustrate how economic theory is the only branch of social sciences which still holds to its old paradigm of an equilibrium science - an assumption that has already been relaxed in all related fields of research in the light of recent advances in complex and dynamical systems theory and related data mining. The other chapters give various takes on policy and decision making in this context. Written in nontechnical style throughout, with a mix of tutorial and essay-like contributions, this book will benefit all researchers, scientists, professionals and practitioners interested in learning about the 'thinking in complexity' to understand how socio-economic systems really work.

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