What enables individually simple insects like ants to act with such precision and purpose as a group? How do trillions of individual neurons produce something as extraordinarily complex as consciousness? What is it that guides self-organizing structures like the immune system, the World Wide Web, the global economy, and the human genome? These are just a few of the fascinating and elusive questions that the science of complexity seeks to answer.
In this remarkably accessible and companionable book, leading complex systems scientist Melanie Mitchell provides an intimate, detailed tour of the sciences of complexity, a broad set of efforts that seek to explain how large-scale complex, organized, and adaptive behavior can emerge from simple interactions among myriad individuals. Comprehending such systems requires a wholly new approach, one that goes beyond traditional scientific reductionism and that re-maps long-standing disciplinary boundaries. Based on her work at the Santa Fe Institute and drawing on its interdisciplinary strategies, Mitchell brings clarity to the workings of complexity across a broad range of biological, technological, and social phenomena, seeking out the general principles or laws that apply to all of them. She explores as well the relationship between complexity and evolution, artificial intelligence, computation, genetics, information processing, and many other fields.
Richly illustrated and vividly written, Complexity: A Guided Tour offers a comprehensive and eminently comprehensible overview of the ideas underlying complex systems science, the current research at the forefront of this field, and the prospects for the field's contribution to solving some of the most important scientific questions of our time.
Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science provides an authoritative single source for understanding and applying the concepts of complexity theory together with the tools and measures for analyzing complex systems in all fields of science and engineering. The science and tools of complexity and systems science include theories of self-organization, complex systems, synergetics, dynamical systems, turbulence, catastrophes, instabilities, nonlinearity, stochastic processes, chaos, neural networks, cellular automata, adaptive systems, and genetic algorithms. Examples of near-term problems and major unknowns that can be approached through complexity and systems science include: The structure, history and future of the universe; the biological basis of consciousness; the integration of genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics as systems biology; human longevity limits; the limits of computing; sustainability of life on earth; predictability, dynamics and extent of earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters; the dynamics of turbulent flows; lasers or fluids in physics, microprocessor design; macromolecular assembly in chemistry and biophysics; brain functions in cognitive neuroscience; climate change; ecosystem management; traffic management; and business cycles. All these seemingly quite different kinds of structure formation have a number of important features and underlying structures in common. These deep structural similarities can be exploited to transfer analytical methods and understanding from one field to another. This unique work will extend the influence of complexity and system science to a much wider audience than has been possible to date.
This volume consists of short, interview-style contributions by leading figures in the field of complexity, based on five questions. The answers trace their personal experience and expose their views on the definition, aspects, problems and future of complexity. The aim of the book is to bring together the opinions of researchers with different backgrounds on the emerging study of complex systems. In this way, we will see similarities and differences, agreements and debates among the approaches of different schools.
A cocktail party. A terrorist cell. Ancient bacteria. An international conglomerate. All are networks, and all are a part of a surprising scientific revolution. Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, the nations foremost expert in the new science of networks, takes us on an intellectual adventure to prove that social networks, corporations, and living organisms are more similar than previoulsy thought. Grasping a full understanding of network science, will someday allow us to design blue chip businesses, stop the outbreak of deadly diseases, and influence the exchange of ideas and information. Just as James Gleick brought the discovery of the Chaos theory to the general public, Linked tells the story of the true science of the future.
Spinning the Semantic Web describes an exciting new type of hierarchy and standardization that will re-place the current "web of links" with a "web of meaning." Using a flexible set of languages and tools, the Semantic Web will make all available information-display elements, metadata, services, images, and espe-cially content-accessible. The result will be an immense repository of information accessible for a wide range of new applications. This first handbook for the Semantic Web covers, among other topics, software agents that can negotiate and collect information, markup languages that can tag many more types of information in a document, and knowledge systems that enable machines to read Web pages and determine their reliability. The truly inter-disciplinary Semantic Web combines aspects of artificial intelligence, markup languages, natural language processing, information retrieval, knowledge representation, intelligent agents, and databases.