Природо-математически науки

Complexity: A Guided Tour

Автор(и) : Melanie Mitchell

Издател : Oxford University Press

Място на издаване : New York, USA

Година на издаване : 2009

ISBN : 978-0-19-512441-5

Брой страници : 349

Език : английски


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What the heck is "complexity" anyway? This is one of the questions Mitchell tries to answer in this wide ranging introduction to emergent phenomenon.
In Complexity, A Guided Tour Mitchell embarks on a highly readable and wide ranging overview of the world of complexity. From the beginning, one might reasonably ask, "What does it mean to speak of the complexity of something?" Good question.
What is Complexity?
Complexity seems to have as many definitions as there are people willing to take a shot at defining it. Is it a measure of how hard something is to understand? Are complex things harder to explain than simple things? Are complex systems self-organizing without the benefit of an obvious central controller? Do they evolve? Does complexity result in emergent properties that are somehow greater than a simple sum of parts? Apparently the answer to all these questions is--yes.

As examples of complex systems, which are then discussed in greater detail later in the book, Mitchell offers insect colonies, the human brain, the immune system, economies, the world wide web, and a few other entities.
What exactly makes these systems complex? Mitchell offers up some ideas on the things that all "complex" systems have in common, and provides the thoughts of a number of other luminaries in the field as well. To her credit, Mitchell even discusses that fact that some people think the entire field of complexity theory is a bogus waste of time. Time will tell.

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