File Size: 1470 KB
Print Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Oneworld Publications; Reprint edition (October 1, 2009)
Publication Date: October 1, 2009
My only problem relating to this book comes on page 100. Here, Meeks explains how a "six degrees of separation" network was conceived by Stanly Milgram in 1967. I know that Johnson knows that it was debunked by later research, but Johnson fails to mention this in the book (one only has to look to Wikipedia, Complexity: A Guided Visit by Melanie Mitchell or The Numbers Game: The Commonsense Guide to Understanding Numbers in the News, in Politics, and inLife for confirmation. I do not fault Johnson here because given the 'basic' stage at which this book was written, he probably didn't feel like complicating the issue - the purpose he or she was trying to make was satisfied - and he therefore surely didn't feeling like going into the whole mess by upending the urban story. So, with that besides, I really do recommend this book as a great introduction to Complexity and recommend Complexity: A Guided Tour by Melanie Mitchell for the interested reader as a great book to carry on learning about Complexity Science., I came to this book as a physicist with a hobby-level interest in complexity theory. And to me this was a disappointment. Mathematical depth is non-existent. In its course, the book goes over several problems, approaching them from the point of view of complexity theory. This perspective is interesting and instructive, sure enough. However, these explanations tend to be too long and convoluted. A point that could be made effectively in a paragraph often takes several web pages. Even for a non-scientist looking for an review of a subject, Constantly imagine this is a helpful treatment.
Basically, imagine someone's dad went to a lawn mower convention, and after this insists on informing everyone all the cool lawn mower devices he or she saw. It's exactly like that, except it's difficulty theory and never lawn mowers. And it continues for over 200 pages.
Melanie Mitchell's " Complexity: A new guided tour" is a far better book. Just get that you., One of the best books I've check out this year. I VERY recommend it to anyone who wonders how complicate problems (hint: all of them require human behavior) could be modeled and possibly resolved. So insightful yet super easy and enjoyable to read. Get this book! Read it! You may be amazed., Easy read, definitely connects many spots! Its the simple form and combo of structured chaos of economy, durability and engineering!, Complexity science is an extensive field with vague boundaries, so no single book can cover the whole field detailed. In this book, Neil Johnson focuses on a definition of complexity associated with a particular school of computational models, and he describes these models and their resulting actions at a level well suited for the general reader (somewhat detailed descriptions, but essentially no conventional math). He or she has a PhD in physics and it has himself done considerable research on these kind of models (see the recommendations at the end of the book), so his knowledge in this field is pretty authoritative.
For Johnson, a complex system has the following characteristics:
(1) A new population of multiple (at least three) interacting items or "agents" which typically form a network. These types of objects may be very simple, nonetheless they don't have to be.
(2) Competition among the items for limited resources. Since part of this overall competition, there can be local cooperation within the system.
(3) Feedback processes, which give the system memory and history.
(4) Capability of the objects to adapt their strategies in response to their historical past.
(5) Ability of the system to interact with their environment.
(6) Self-organization of system behavior, without the need for a core controller.
(7) Emergence of non-trivial patterns of conduct, including a complicated blend of ordered and disordered conduct. This can include topsy-turvy behavior, as well as extreme ordered behavior (eg, traffic jams, market crashes, human diseases and epidemics, wars, etc. ).
Meeks gives many examples of complex systems, and a jazz band is among the most interesting of these examples (the punk performance is the conduct of the system).
In this article are some of the key comes from the models he describes:
(1) Even if the objects including the population of the system are complicated and heterogeneous (eg, people), this variability has a tendency to "average out" in a way that allows the objects to be modeled as being fairly simple and homogeneous (at least as a first approximation).
(2) As a result of competition, the population of objects will often become polarized into two opposition groups (eg, bears and bulls economic markets, opposition political parties, etc. ). This competition tends to reduce fluctuations in the behavior of the system.
(3) It's sometimes possible to steer the conduct of a system by manipulating a subset of the system's objects.
(4) Network structure tends to make complex systems more robust.
(5) The overall behavior of a system, and the ability of individual items in the system obtain resources, will depend on both the level of available resources and the level of connectivity (network structure) between objects. When resources are only moderate, adding a little level of connectivity widens the disparity between successful and unsuccessful objects, whereas adding if you are an00 of connectivity reduces this disparity. By distinction, when resources are plentiful, adding a little amount of connectivity is sufficient to raise the average success rate and permit most items to reach your goals. These patterns are regular with what I've observed in competition among engineering businesses over the years (including during the current economic downturn, a time of reduced resources).
(6) The behavioral outcomes of complex systems often follow a power law distribution, with smaller events being most common, but with extreme events also occurring more often than one might expect.
One of my main inspirations to learn this book was to get regarding how malignant tumors might be modeled as complex systems, with the hope that such models might provide clues regarding more effective ways cancer treatment. I was pleased to see that Johnson does discuss malignancy at several points in the book, but I was disappointed to find that his discussion of malignancy modeling is relatively " light ". Nevertheless, I'm firmly convinced that cancer is best modeled as a complex system, so I think that far more research along these lines is (urgently) needed.
Overall, I do recommend this book. Johnson is certified to write it, and it works well as an easily understood introduction at a level of details well suited for general readers. On the other hand, again, imagination mind that the scope of the book is fairly narrow, so many important subjects usually are mentioned whatsoever. As a result, the book supplies a good understanding of some of the trees in the forest of difficulty science, however, not much sense of the overall forest. With regard to a broader introduction to difficulty science, I recommend Complexity: A Guided Visit by Melanie Mitchell., This was a pleasurable read, enjoyable enough i picked up the author's text book as the ideas presented are definitely worth learning., This textual content provides a relatively straight forward approach to examining common situations in life that can be categorized as 'complex'. These examples then permit the reader to view these, and other, complex systems from a new perspective. It makes for an interesting read, but don't expect it to provide you " the meaning of life"., Effortless to read, eye opener into complexity science and quantum physics. I read it on Kindle and it's great in digital form, better than hard form I think
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