Complex systems present problems both in mathematical modelling and philosophical foundations. The study of complex systems represents a new approach to science that investigates how relationships between parts give rise to the collective behaviors of a system and how the system interacts and forms relationships with its environment. The equations from which models of complex systems are developed generally derive from statistical physics, information theory and non-linear dynamics, and represent organized but unpredictable behaviors of natural systems that are considered fundamentally complex.
Italian New Public Management (NPM) has been mainly characterized by a political orientation toward power decentralization to local governments and privatization of public companies. Nowadays, local utilities in Italy are often run by joint stock companies controlled by public agencies such as Regional and Municipal Administrations. Due to this transformation, these companies must comply with a set of diverse expectations coming from a wide range of stakeholders, related to their financial, competitive and social performance. Such fragmented governance increases the presence of “wicked” problems in the decision-making sphere of these entities. Given this multi-level governance structure, how do these agents influence public services performance? In recent years, coordination and inter-institutional joint action have been identified as possible approaches for dealing with governance fragmentation and wicked problems deriving from it. How can we adapt a performance management perspective in order to help us reform the system and so have a better collaboration between the stakeholders involved? In order to address and discuss these research questions, a case study will be developed. The case concerns AMAT, the local utility providing the public transportation service in the Municipality of Palermo (Italy). The result of this study is a dynamic model including a set of performance indicators that help us in understanding the impact of the governing structure on the system’s performance.
We discuss how understanding the nature of chaotic dynamics allows us to control these systems. A controlled chaotic system can then serve as a versatile pattern generator that can be used for a range of application. Specifically, we will discuss the application of controlled chaos to the design of novel computational paradigms. Thus, we present an illustrative research arc, starting with ideas of control, based on the general understanding of chaos, moving over to applications that influence the course of building better devices.
“Chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought. It always defeats order, because it is better organized” Terry Pratchett A brief review is presented of some recent findings in the theory of chaotic dynamics. We also prove a statement that could be naturally considered as a dual one to the Poincaré theorem on recurrences. Numerical results demonstrate that some parts of the phase space of chaotic systems are more likely to be visited earlier than other parts. A new class of chaotic focusing billiards is discussed that clearly violates the main condition considered to be necessary for chaos in focusing billiards.
Represented as graphs, real networks are intricate combinations of order and disorder. Fixing some of the structural properties of network models to their values observed in real networks, many other properties appear as statistical consequences of these fixed observables, plus randomness in other respects. Here we employ the dk-series, a complete set of basic characteristics of the network structure, to study the statistical dependencies between different network properties. We consider six real networks---the Internet, US airport network, human protein interactions, technosocial web of trust, English word network, and an fMRI map of the human brain---and find that many important local and global structural properties of these networks are closely reproduced by dk-random graphs whose degree distributions, degree correlations, and clustering are as in the corresponding real network. We discuss important conceptual, methodological, and practical implications of this evaluation of network randomness.
How random are complex networks Chiara Orsini, Marija Mitrović Dankulov, Almerima Jamakovic, Priya Mahadevan, Pol Colomer-de-Simón, Amin Vahdat, Kevin E. Bassler, Zoltán Toroczkai, Marián Boguñá, Guido Caldarelli, Santo Fortunato, Dmitri Krioukov
This special issue brings together articles that illustrate the recent advances of studying complex adaptive systems in industrial ecology (IE). The authors explore the emergent behavior of sociotechnical systems, including product systems, industrial symbiosis (IS) networks, cities, resource consumption, and co-authorship networks, and offer application of complex systems models and analyses. The articles demonstrate the links, relevance, and implications of many (often emerging) fields of study to IE, including network analysis, participatory modeling, nonequilibrium thermodynamics, and agent-based modeling. Together, these articles show that IE itself is a complex adaptive system, where knowledge, frameworks, methods, and tools evolve with and by their applications and use in small and large case studies—multidisciplinary knowledge ecology.
Complexity in Industrial Ecology: Models, Analysis, and Actions Gerard P.J. Dijkema, Ming Xu, Sybil Derrible and Reid Lifset
Journal of Industrial Ecology Special Issue: Advances in Complex Adaptive Systems and Industrial Ecology Volume 19, Issue 2, pages 189–194, April 2015
We examine all possible statistical pictures of violent conflicts over common era history with a focus on dealing with incompleteness and unreliability of data. We apply methods from extreme value theory on log-transformed data to remove compact support, then, owing to the boundedness of maximum casualties, retransform the data and derive expected means. We find the estimated mean likely to be at least three times larger than the sample mean, meaning severe underestimation of the severity of conflicts from naive observation. We check for robustness by sampling between high and low estimates and jackknifing the data. We study inter-arrival times between tail events and find (first-order) memorylessless of events. The statistical pictures obtained are at variance with the claims about "long peace".
On the tail risk of violent conflict and its underestimation Pasquale Cirillo, Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Emergence is a phenomenon taken for granted in science but also still not well understood. We have developed a model of artificial genetic evolution intended to allow for emergence on genetic, population and social levels. We present the details of the current state of our environment, agent, and reproductive models. In developing our models we have relied on a principle of using non-linear systems to model as many systems as possible including mutation and recombination, gene-environment interaction, agent metabolism, agent survival, resource gathering and sexual reproduction. In this paper we review the genetic dynamics that have emerged in our system including genotype-phenotype divergence, genetic drift, pseudogenes, and gene duplication. We conclude that emergence-focused design in complex system simulation is necessary to reproduce the multilevel emergence seen in the natural world.
The adaptive immune system uses the experience of past infections to prepare its limited repertoire of specialized receptors to protect organisms from future threats. What is the best way of doing this? Building a theoretical framework from first principles, we predict the composition of receptor repertoires that are optimally adapted to minimize the cost of infections from a given pathogenic environment. A naive repertoire can reach these optima through a biologically plausible competitive mechanism. Our findings explain how limited populations of immune receptors can self-organize to provide effective immunity against highly diverse pathogens. Our results also inform the design and interpretation of experiments surveying immune repertoires.
How a well-adapted immune system is organized Andreas Mayer, Vijay Balasubramanian, Thierry Mora, and Aleksandra M. Walczak
The rapid changes occurring in the higher education domain are placing increasing pressure on the actors in this space to focus efforts on identifying and adopting strategies for success. One particular group of interest are academics or scientists, and the ways that these individuals, or collectives as institutional or discipline-based science systems, make decisions about how best to achieve success in their chosen field. The agent-based model and simulation that we present draws on the hypothetical "strategic publication model" proposed by Mölders, Fink and Weyer (2011), and extends this work by defining experimental settings to implement a prototype ABMS in NetLogo. While considerable work remains to fully resolve theoretical issues relating to the scope, calibration and validation of the model, this work goes some way toward resolving some of the details associated with defining appropriate experimental settings. Also presented are the results of four experiments that focus on exploring the emergent effects of the system that result from varying the strategic mix of actors in the system.
Random walk is a fundamental concept with applications ranging from quantum physics to econometrics. Remarkably, one specific model of random walks appears to be ubiquitous across many fields as a tool to analyze transport phenomena in which the dispersal process is faster than dictated by Brownian diffusion. The Lévy-walk model combines two key features, the ability to generate anomalously fast diffusion and a finite velocity of a random walker. Recent results in optics, Hamiltonian chaos, cold atom dynamics, biophysics, and behavioral science demonstrate that this particular type of random walk provides significant insight into complex transport phenomena. This review gives a self-consistent introduction to Lévy walks, surveys their existing applications, including latest advances, and outlines further perspectives.
Lévy walks V. Zaburdaev, S. Denisov, and J. Klafter Rev. Mod. Phys. 87, 483
A new offering from SFI’s online education resource,Complexity Explorer, gives complexity enthusiasts quantitative tools for distinguishing the "complex" aspects of a system from the merely "complicated."
Any national cuisine is a sum total of its variety of regional cuisines, which are the cultural and historical identifiers of their respective regions. India is home to a number of regional cuisines that showcase its culinary diversity. Here, we study recipes from eight different regional cuisines of India spanning various geographies and climates. We investigate the phenomenon of food pairing which examines compatibility of two ingredients in a recipe in terms of their shared flavor compounds. Food pairing was enumerated at the level of cuisine, recipes as well as ingredient pairs by quantifying flavor sharing between pairs of ingredients. Our results indicate that each regional cuisine follows negative food pairing pattern; more the extent of flavor sharing between two ingredients, lesser their co-occurrence in that cuisine. We find that frequency of ingredient usage is central in rendering the characteristic food pairing in each of these cuisines. Spice and dairy emerged as the most significant ingredient classes responsible for the biased pattern of food pairing. Interestingly while individual spices contribute to negative food pairing, dairy products on the other hand tend to deviate food pairing towards positive side. Our data analytical study highlighting statistical properties of the regional cuisines, brings out their culinary fingerprints that could be used to design algorithms for generating novel recipes and recipe recommender systems. It forms a basis for exploring possible causal connection between diet and health as well as prospection of therapeutic molecules from food ingredients. Our study also provides insights as to how big data can change the way we look at food.
The Slime Mould Collective is a portal for interesting, progressive and ground breaking research and creative practice working with the simple yet intelligent organisms. If you are involved with or interested in slime moulds as a scientist, artist (or somewhere in between or other) please join and share what you do...
Critical transitions in multistable systems have been discussed as models for a variety of phenomena ranging from the extinctions of species to socio-economic changes and climate transitions between ice-ages and warm-ages. From bifurcation theory we can expect certain critical transitions to be preceded by a decreased recovery from external perturbations. The consequences of this critical slowing down have been observed as an increase in variance and autocorrelation prior to the transition. However especially in the presence of noise it is not clear, whether these changes in observation variables are statistically relevant such that they could be used as indicators for critical transitions. In this contribution we investigate the predictability of critical transitions in conceptual models. We study the the quadratic integrate-and-fire model and the van der Pol model, under the influence of external noise. We focus especially on the statistical analysis of the success of predictions and the overall predictability of the system. The performance of different indicator variables turns out to be dependent on the specific model under study and the conditions of accessing it. Furthermore, we study the influence of the magnitude of transitions on the predictive performance.
Do you avoid papers thick with mathematical details and unfamiliar statistical analyses? If so, this article is for you! Systems biology, at its core, is not a set of computational and mathematical techniques; these are merely tools, incredibly useful, but secondary. The heart of systems biology is simple: explaining how a system works requires an integrated outlook. For any phenotype—molecular, macroscopic, or ecological—a set of interrelated factors exist that contribute to this phenotype. Since these factors interact, they need to be studied collectively, not merely individually. That’s it!
We review some of the history and early work in the area of synchronization in chaotic systems. We start with our own discovery of the phenomenon, but go on to establish the historical timeline of this topic back to the earliest known paper. The topic of synchronization of chaotic systems has always been intriguing, since chaotic systems are known to resist synchronization because of their positive Lyapunov exponents. The convergence of the two systems to identical trajectories is a surprise. We show how people originally thought about this process and how the concept of synchronization changed over the years to a more geometric view using synchronization manifolds. We also show that building synchronizing systems leads naturally to engineering more complex systems whose constituents are chaotic, but which can be tuned to output various chaotic signals. We finally end up at a topic that is still in very active exploration today and that is synchronization of dynamical systems in networks of oscillators.
I frequently talk to groups of managers on the nature of systems thinking and its radical implications to management. In doing so I use several case studies involving prominent American corporations. At the end of the presentation I am almost alwaysasked, "If this way of thinking is as good as you say it is, why don't more organizations use it?" It is easy to reply by saying that organizations naturally resist change. This of course is a tautology. I once asked a vice president of marketing why consumers used his product. He answered, "Because they like it." I then asked him how he knew this. He answered, "Because the use it." Our answer to the question about failure of organizations to adopt systems thinking is seldom any better then this. There be many reasons why any particular organization fails to adopt systems thinking but I believe there are two that are the most important, one general and one specific. By a general reason I mean one that is responsible for organizations failing to adopt any transforming idea, let alone systems thinking. By a specific reason I mean one responsible for the failure to adopt systems thinking in particular.
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