The “study of complexity” refers to the attempt to find common principles underlying the behavior of complex systems—systems in which large collections of components interact in nonlinear ways. Here, the term nonlinear implies that the system can’t be understood simply by understanding its individual components; nonlinear interactions cause the whole to be “more than the sum of its parts.”
How Can the Study of Complexity Transform Our Understanding of the World?
X-rays and advanced photography have uncovered the true complexity of the mysterious Antikythera mechanism, a device so astonishing that its discovery is like finding a functional Buick in medieval Europe.
Via Luca Baptista
One of the defining features of neoclassical economics is the belief that macroeconomic analysis has to be not merely compatible with, but derivable from, microeconomic analysis. The development of economic theory has been driven far more by this belief than by the desire to make the theory compatible with the observed behaviour of the economy. This ‘reductionist’ aspect of economics – the attempt to reduce the higher level topic of macroeconomics to an applied version of the lower level topic of microeconomics – is at odds with the last 50 years of genuine sciences, where complexity has ruled the roost, for reasons that were eloquently put by Physics Nobel Laureate Philip Anderson in a highly readable paper entitled “More Is Different”. In that paper, Anderson asserted that reductionism did not work, because though it is possible to rank sciences in a hierarchy in which “The elementary entities of science X obey the laws of science Y, … this hierarchy does not imply that ‘science X is just applied Y’… At each stage entirely new laws, concepts, and generalisations are necessary, requiring inspiration and creativity to just as great a degree as in the previous one. Psychology is not applied biology, nor is biology applied chemistry.” Economics violates this by its belief that “macroeconomics is just applied microeconomics”, but recent blogosphere debates have confirmed that there is a limit to how far neoclassical economists will take reductionism: it stops at microeconomics.
Via Bernard Ryefield
We propose a complex systems approach to the study of political belief systems, to overcome some of the fragmentation in the current scholarship on ideology. We review relevant work in psychology, sociology, and political science and identify major cleavages in the literature: the spatial vs. non-spatial divide (ideologies as reducible to a spatially organized set of dimensions vs. as complex conceptual structures) and the person-group problem (ideologies as driven by psychological needs of individuals vs. by institutional and power structures of society). We argue that construing ideologies as conceptual networks of cognitive-affective representations embedded in social networks of people may provide a path for bridging these existing gaps and epistemological disputes. Tools from cognitive science and computational social science such as cognitive-affective mapping, connectionist simulations, and agent-based modeling are appropriate methods for a new research program that substantiates our complex systems perspective on ideology.
Via Bernard Ryefield
The importance of game theory to modern analysis and decision-making can be gauged by the fact that since 1970, as many as 12 leading economists and scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for their contributions to game...
Penxy is the easiest way to control and deliver your presentations from your iPad or iPhone during a real event. You can seamlessly stream your presentations (including your voice) online. Better yet, you can record your presentation so that you can share it with your social networks.
Top 100 Websites for Academics and Research Students ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning on Learning*Education*Technology curated by Skip Zalneraitis (Top 100 Websites for Academics and Research Students ~ Educational Technology and Mobile...
Evolution has transformed all we know about how humans behave, compete and co-operate. When will economics catch up? (Evolution has transformed all we know about how humans behave, compete and cooperate.
“ How economics is taught has been the subject of a lot of debate recently. Although there have been a lot of good points made, in my opinion Andrew Lainton's recent blog post hits the nail on the he...”
Using open source data, we observe the fascinating dynamics of nighttime light. Following a global economic regime shift, the planetary center of light can be seen moving eastwards at a pace of about 60 km per year. Introducing spatial light Gini coefficients, we find a universal pattern of human settlements across different countries and see a global centralization of light. Observing 160 different countries we document the expansion of developing countries, the growth of new agglomerations, the regression in countries suffering from demographic decline and the success of light pollution abatement programs in western countries.Dynamics and spatial distribution of global nighttime lightsPeter Cauwels, Nicola Pestalozzi and Didier SornetteEPJ Data Science 2014, 3:2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1140/epjds19
Via Claudia Mihai, Complexity Digest
The traditional approach to flash movie making has been to use complicated desktop software which are difficult to learn and require advanced programming skills. Toufee on the other hand requires absolutely no technical skills, and its so simple to use that you can get started instantly! Toufee is the only flash Maker that supports YouTube!
Via Baiba Svenca
“Smart, rule-abiding teenagers are less likely to become successful entrepreneurs than equally intelligent teens who engage in illicit activities, according to new research. (Does your teen shoplift, smoke pot, play hooky and get in fights?”
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss complexity and how it can help us understand the world around us. When living beings come together and act in a group, they do so in complicated and unpredictable ways: societies often behave very differently from the individuals within them. Complexity was a phenomenon little understood a generation ago, but research into complex systems now has important applications in many different fields, from biology to political science. Today it is being used to explain how birds flock, to predict traffic flow in cities and to study the spread of diseases.
Via Bernard Ryefield
Rule 1: For Every Result, Keep Track of How It Was Produced Rule 2: Avoid Manual Data Manipulation Steps Rule 3: Archive the Exact Versions of All External Programs Used Rule 4: Version Control All Custom Scripts Rule 5: Record All Intermediate Results, When Possible in Standardized Formats Rule 6: For Analyses That Include Randomness, Note Underlying Random Seeds Rule 7: Always Store Raw Data behind Plots Rule 8: Generate Hierarchical Analysis Output, Allowing Layers of Increasing Detail to Be Inspected Rule 9: Connect Textual Statements to Underlying Results Rule 10: Provide Public Access to Scripts, Runs, and Results