A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in by John H. Miller

By John H. Miller

Imagine attempting to comprehend a stained glass window through breaking it into items and interpreting it one shard at a time. if you might most likely research much approximately every bit, you are going to do not know approximately what the whole photograph seems like. this is often reductionism—the concept that to appreciate the realm we merely have to learn its pieces—and it really is how such a lot social scientists procedure their work.

In A Crude examine the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller exhibits why we have to begin taking a look at complete images. For something, no matter if we're speaking approximately inventory markets, desktop networks, or organic organisms, person elements in basic terms make experience after we do not forget that they're a part of better wholes. and maybe extra importantly, these wholes can tackle behaviors which are strikingly various from that in their pieces.
Miller, a number one professional within the computational learn of advanced adaptive platforms, finds magnificent worldwide styles linking the association of another way noticeably various constructions: it might probably look crude, yet a beehive’s temperature regulate process may help are expecting marketplace fluctuations and a mammal’s heartbeat may also help us comprehend the “heartbeat” of a urban and adapt city making plans consequently. From enduring racial segregation to surprising inventory marketplace failures, when we commence drawing hyperlinks among complicated structures, we will begin fixing what in a different way may be completely intractable problems.

Thanks to this innovative standpoint, we will be able to eventually go beyond the bounds of reductionism and realize the most important new rules. Scientifically based and wonderfully written, A Crude examine the Whole is a strong exploration of the demanding situations that we are facing as a society. because it finds, taking the crude glance may be the single approach to really see.

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Extra info for A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in Business, Life, and Society

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We embraced a new set of tools made possible by the information age and developed new methods to move beyond the nineteenth-­century toolbox used by most scientists. We created new forms of academic institutions, such as the Santa Fe Institute, that embodied the revolutionary mind-set that was fermenting, allowing the easy interchange of ideas, examples, and tools across formerly isolated academic fields. The act was outrageous enough that the traditional academic powers ignored our activities, giving us the needed time to refine our ideas and methods so that we could start to seriously challenge the prevailing norms.

This new theorem implies that as agents adapt in these complex systems, their adaptations are governed by probabilities tied to their underlying fitness. While agents are more likely to be found concentrating on the better solutions, there is always a (lower) chance that they will find themselves in suboptimal circumstances. This is a result that is at once both gratifying and humbling, as it suggests that while agents will often find the best outcomes, they will inevitably fail on occasion. Complexity abounds.

Cooperative agents develop a way to communicate so as to recognize one another. By doing so, they get the benefits of cooperation while minimizing losses when they encounter competitive agents. Through such a mechanism, cooperation can emerge and be sustained. The final principle we will explore is that of self-­organized criticality. Consider grains of sand being slowly piled on a table. As we drop each grain, it might land on a stable spot and increase the pile, but in doing so it makes that spot less stable than it was before.

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