Advances in molecular biology, remote sensing, systems biology, bioinformatics, non-linear science, the physics of complex systems and other fields have rendered a great amount of data that remain to be integrated into models and theories that are capable of accounting for the complexity of ecological systems and the evolutionary dynamics of life. It is thus necessary to provide a solid basis to discuss and reflect on these and other challenges both at the local and global scales. This volume aims to delineate an integrative and interdisciplinary view that suggests new avenues in research and teaching, critically discusses the scope of the diverse methods in the study of complex systems, and points at key open questions. Finally, this book will provide students and specialists with a collection of high quality open access essays that will contribute to integrate Ecology, Evolution and Complexity in the context of basic research and in the field of Sustainability Sciences
Quantum field theory is arguably the most far-reaching and beautiful physical theory ever constructed, with aspects more stringently tested and verified to greater precision than any other theory in physics. Unfortunately, the subject has gained a notorious reputation for difficulty, with forbidding looking mathematics and a peculiar diagrammatic language described in an array of unforgiving, weighty textbooks aimed firmly at aspiring professionals. However, quantum field theory is too important, too beautiful, and too engaging to be restricted to the professionals. This book on quantum field theory is designed to be different. It is written by experimental physicists and aims to provide the interested amateur with a bridge from undergraduate physics to quantum field theory. The imagined reader is a gifted amateur, possessing a curious and adaptable mind, looking to be told an entertaining and intellectually stimulating story, but who will not feel patronised if a few mathematical niceties are spelled out in detail. Using numerous worked examples, diagrams, and careful physically motivated explanations, this book will smooth the path towards understanding the radically different and revolutionary view of the physical world that quantum field theory provides, and which all physicists should have the opportunity to experience.
The book presents findings, views and ideas on what exact problems of image processing, pattern recognition and generation can be efficiently solved by cellular automata architectures. This volume provides a convenient collection in this area, in which publications are otherwise widely scattered throughout the literature. The topics covered include image compression and resizing; skeletonization, erosion and dilation; convex hull computation, edge detection and segmentation; forgery detection and content based retrieval; and pattern generation.
The book advances the theory of image processing, pattern recognition and generation as well as the design of efficient algorithms and hardware for parallel image processing and analysis. It is aimed at computer scientists, software programmers, electronic engineers, mathematicians and physicists, and at everyone who studies or develops cellular automaton algorithms and tools for image processing and analysis, or develops novel architectures and implementations of massive parallel computing devices.
The book will provide attractive reading for a general audience because it has do-it-yourself appeal: all the computer experiments presented within it can be implemented with minimal knowledge of programming. The simplicity yet substantial functionality of the cellular automaton approach, and the transparency of the algorithms proposed, makes the text ideal supplementary reading for courses on image processing, parallel computing, automata theory and applications.
This book is devoted to an overview of the status of the art in the study of complex systems, with particular focus on the analysis of systems pertaining to living matter. Both senior scientists and young researchers from diverse and prestigious institutions with a deliberately interdisciplinary cut were invited, in order to compare approaches and problems from different disciplines. The common aim of the contributions is to analyze the complexity of living systems by means of new mathematical paradigms that are more adherent to reality and which are able to generate both exploratory and predictive models that are capable of achieving a deeper insight into life science phenomena.
This book starts with a discussion of nonlinear ordinary differential equations, bifurcation theory and Hamiltonian dynamics. It then embarks on a systematic discussion of the traditional topics of modern nonlinear dynamics -- integrable systems, Poincaré maps, chaos, fractals and strange attractors. The Baker’s transformation, the logistic map and Lorenz system are discussed in detail in view of their central place in the subject. There is a detailed discussion of solitons centered around the Korteweg-deVries equation in view of its central place in integrable systems. Then, there is a discussion of the Painlevé property of nonlinear differential equations which seems to provide a test of integrability. Finally, there is a detailed discussion of the application of fractals and multi-fractals to fully-developed turbulence -- a problem whose understanding has been considerably enriched by the application of the concepts and methods of modern nonlinear dynamics. On the application side, there is a special emphasis on some aspects of fluid dynamics and plasma physics reflecting the author’s involvement in these areas of physics. A few exercises have been provided that range from simple applications to occasional considerable extension of the theory. Finally, the list of references given at the end of the book contains primarily books and papers used in developing the lecture material this volume is based on. This second edition constitutes an extensive rewrite of the text involving refinement and enhancement of the clarity and precision, updating and amplification of several sections, addition of new material like theory of nonlinear differential equations, solitons, Lagrangian chaos in fluids, and critical phenomena perspectives on the fluid turbulence problem and many new exercises.
A wealth of research in recent decades has seen the economic approach to human behavior extended over many areas previously considered to belong to sociology, political science, law, and other fields. Research has also shown that economics can provide insight into many aspects of sports, including soccer. Beautiful Game Theory is the first book that uses soccer to test economic theories and document novel human behavior.
In this brilliant and entertaining book, Ignacio Palacios-Huerta illuminates economics through the world's most popular sport. He offers unique and often startling insights into game theory and microeconomics, covering topics such as mixed strategies, discrimination, incentives, and human preferences. He also looks at finance, experimental economics, behavioral economics, and neuroeconomics. Soccer provides rich data sets and environments that shed light on universal economic principles in interesting and useful ways.
Essential reading for students, researchers, and sports enthusiasts, Beautiful Game Theory is the first book to show what soccer can do for economics.
This volume of essays examines the problem of mind, looking at how the problem has appeared to neuroscientists (in the widest sense) from classical antiquity through to contemporary times. Beginning with a look at ventricular neuropsychology in antiquity, this book goes on to look at Spinozan ideas on the links between mind and body, Thomas Willis and the foundation of Neurology, Hooke’s mechanical model of the mind and Joseph Priestley’s approach to the mind-body problem.
The volume offers a chapter on the 19th century Ottoman perspective on western thinking. Further chapters trace the work of nineteenth century scholars including George Henry Lewes, Herbert Spencer and Emil du Bois-Reymond. The book covers significant work from the twentieth century, including an examination of Alfred North Whitehead and the history of consciousness, and particular attention is given to the development of quantum consciousness. Chapters on slavery and the self and the development of an understanding of Dualism bring this examination up to date on the latest 21st century work in the field.
At the heart of this book is the matter of how we define the problem of consciousness itself: has there been any progress in our understanding of the working of mind and brain? This work at the interface between science and the humanities will appeal to experts from across many fields who wish to develop their understanding of the problem of consciousness, including scholars of Neuroscience, Behavioural Science and the History of Science.
Do all questions have answers? How much can we know about the world? Is there such a thing as an ultimate truth?
To be human is to want to know, but what we are able to observe is only a tiny portion of what’s “out there.” In The Island of Knowledge, physicist Marcelo Gleiser traces our search for answers to the most fundamental questions of existence. In so doing, he reaches a provocative conclusion: science, the main tool we use to find answers, is fundamentally limited.
These limits to our knowledge arise both from our tools of exploration and from the nature of physical reality: the speed of light, the uncertainty principle, the impossibility of seeing beyond the cosmic horizon, the incompleteness theorem, and our own limitations as an intelligent species. Recognizing limits in this way, Gleiser argues, is not a deterrent to progress or a surrendering to religion. Rather, it frees us to question the meaning and nature of the universe while affirming the central role of life and ourselves in it. Science can and must go on, but recognizing its limits reveals its true mission: to know the universe is to know ourselves.
Telling the dramatic story of our quest for understanding, The Island of Knowledge offers a highly original exploration of the ideas of some of the greatest thinkers in history, from Plato to Einstein, and how they affect us today. An authoritative, broad-ranging intellectual history of our search for knowledge and meaning, The Island of Knowledge is a unique view of what it means to be human in a universe filled with mystery.
The dream of capturing and organizing knowledge is as old as history. From the archives of ancient Sumeria and the Library of Alexandria to the Library of Congress and Wikipedia, humanity has wrestled with the problem of harnessing its intellectual output. The timeless quest for wisdom has been as much about information storage and retrieval as creative genius.
In Cataloging the World, Alex Wright introduces us to a figure who stands out in the long line of thinkers and idealists who devoted themselves to the task. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Paul Otlet, a librarian by training, worked at expanding the potential of the catalog card, the world's first information chip. From there followed universal libraries and museums, connecting his native Belgium to the world by means of a vast intellectual enterprise that attempted to organize and code everything ever published. Forty years before the first personal computer and fifty years before the first browser, Otlet envisioned a network of "electric telescopes" that would allow people everywhere to search through books, newspapers, photographs, and recordings, all linked together in what he termed, in 1934, a réseau mondial--essentially, a worldwide web.
Otlet's life achievement was the construction of the Mundaneum--a mechanical collective brain that would house and disseminate everything ever committed to paper. Filled with analog machines such as telegraphs and sorters, the Mundaneum--what some have called a "Steampunk version of hypertext"--was the embodiment of Otlet's ambitions. It was also short-lived. By the time the Nazis, who were pilfering libraries across Europe to collect information they thought useful, carted away Otlet's collection in 1940, the dream had ended. Broken, Otlet died in 1944.
Wright's engaging intellectual history gives Otlet his due, restoring him to his proper place in the long continuum of visionaries and pioneers who have struggled to classify knowledge, from H.G. Wells and Melvil Dewey to Vannevar Bush, Ted Nelson, Tim Berners-Lee, and Steve Jobs. Wright shows that in the years since Otlet's death the world has witnessed the emergence of a global network that has proved him right about the possibilities--and the perils--of networked information, and his legacy persists in our digital world today, captured for all time.
The information society is upon us and with it comes the constant barrage of information accessible wherever, whenever. This book explores the role of knowledge (or lack thereof) prevalent in society, and investigates the dangers lurking in information technology and democracy as a whole. Information is a condition for a robust democracy; people should vote based on sound information. But sound information doesn’t come easy and without labor. It must be properly handled and formatted before it is useful for deliberation, decision and action. In the information age, understanding the means by which information is processed becomes a crucial democratic instrument for the individual as well as the group. With points of departure in philosophy, social psychology, economics, and choice- and game theory, Infostorms shows how information may be used to improve the quality of personal decision and group thinking but also warns against the informational pitfalls which modern information technology may amplify. Covering topics including the continued war efforts, the social media success, polarization in politics, stock, science or opinion bubbles this book’s broad approach offers an excellent overview on information (technology) and valuable guidance on how to take information punches.
In this fascinating journey to the edge of science, Vidal takes on big philosophical questions: Does our universe have a beginning and an end or is it cyclic? Are we alone in the universe? What is the role of intelligent life, if any, in cosmic evolution? Grounded in science and committed to philosophical rigor, this book presents an evolutionary worldview where the rise of intelligent life is not an accident, but may well be the key to unlocking the universe's deepest mysteries. Vidal shows how the fine-tuning controversy can be advanced with computer simulations. He also explores whether natural or artificial selection could hold on a cosmic scale. In perhaps his boldest hypothesis, he argues that signs of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations are already present in our astrophysical data. His conclusions invite us to see the meaning of life, evolution and intelligence from a novel cosmological framework that should stir debate for years to come.
Complexity science--made possible by modern analytical and computational advances--is changing the way we think about social systems and social theory. Unfortunately, economists' policy models have not kept up and are stuck in either a market fundamentalist or government control narrative. While these standard narratives are useful in some cases, they are damaging in others, directing thinking away from creative, innovative policy solutions. Complexity and the Art of Public Policy outlines a new, more flexible policy narrative, which envisions society as a complex evolving system that is uncontrollable but can be influenced.
David Colander and Roland Kupers describe how economists and society became locked into the current policy framework, and lay out fresh alternatives for framing policy questions. Offering original solutions to stubborn problems, the complexity narrative builds on broader philosophical traditions, such as those in the work of John Stuart Mill, to suggest initiatives that the authors call "activist laissez-faire" policies. Colander and Kupers develop innovative bottom-up solutions that, through new institutional structures such as for-benefit corporations, channel individuals' social instincts into solving societal problems, making profits a tool for change rather than a goal. They argue that a central role for government in this complexity framework is to foster an ecostructure within which diverse forms of social entrepreneurship can emerge and blossom.
The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it.
Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer?
How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God.
Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.
Exact analytical solutions to periodic motions in nonlinear dynamical systems are almost not possible. Since the 18th century, one has extensively used techniques such as perturbation methods to obtain approximate analytical solutions of periodic motions in nonlinear systems. However, the perturbation methods cannot provide the enough accuracy of analytical solutions of periodic motions in nonlinear dynamical systems. So the bifurcation trees of periodic motions to chaos cannot be achieved analytically. The author has developed an analytical technique that is more effective to achieve periodic motions and corresponding bifurcation trees to chaos analytically.
Toward Analytical Chaos in Nonlinear Systems systematically presents a new approach to analytically determine periodic flows to chaos or quasi-periodic flows in nonlinear dynamical systems with/without time-delay. It covers the mathematical theory and includes two examples of nonlinear systems with/without time-delay in engineering and physics. From the analytical solutions, the routes from periodic motions to chaos are developed analytically rather than the incomplete numerical routes to chaos. The analytical techniques presented will provide a better understanding of regularity and complexity of periodic motions and chaos in nonlinear dynamical systems.
This fascinating book written by Ali Sanayei and Otto E. Rössler is not a classic scientific publication, but a vivid dialogue on science, philosophy and the interdisciplinary intersections of science and technology with biographic elements. Chaotic Harmony: A Dialog about Physics, Complexity and Life represents a discussion between Otto Rössler and his colleague and student, focusing on the different areas of science and highlights their mutual relations. The book's concept of interdisciplinary dialogue is unusual nowadays although it has a long tradition in science. It provides insight not only into interesting topics that are often closely linked, but also into the mind of a prominent scientist in the field of physics, chaos and complexity in general. It allows a deep look into the fascinating process of scientific development and discovery and provides a very interesting background of known and unknown facts in the areas of complex processes in physics, cosmology, biology, brains and systems in general. This book will be valuable to all who are interested in science, its evolution and in an unconventional and original look at various issues. Surely it can serve as an inspiration for students, explaining the often overlooked fact that science and philosophy enrich each other.
A closer look at genealogy, incorporating how biological, anthropological, and technical factors can influence human lives
We are at a pivotal moment in understanding our remote ancestry and its implications for how we live today. The barriers to what we can know about our distant relatives have been falling as a result of scientific advance, such as decoding the genomes of humans and Neanderthals, and bringing together different perspectives to answer common questions. These collaborations have brought new knowledge and suggested fresh concepts to examine. The results have shaken the old certainties.
The results are profound; not just for the study of the past but for appreciating why we conduct our social lives in ways, and at scales, that are familiar to all of us. But such basic familiarity raises a dilemma. When surrounded by the myriad technical and cultural innovations that support our global, urbanized lifestyles we can lose sight of the small social worlds we actually inhabit and that can be traced deep into our ancestry. So why do we need art, religion, music, kinship, myths, and all the other facets of our over-active imaginations if the reality of our effective social worlds is set by a limit of some one hundred and fifty partners (Dunbar’s number) made of family, friends, and useful acquaintances? How could such a social community lead to a city the size of London or a country as large as China? Do we really carry our hominin past into our human present? It is these small worlds, and the link they allow to the study of the past that forms the central point in this book.
What makes the 21st century different from the 20th century? This century is the century of extremes -- political, economic, social, and global black-swan events happening with increasing frequency and severity. Book of Extremes is a tour of the current reality as seen through the lens of complexity theory – the only theory capable of explaining why the Arab Spring happened and why it will happen again; why social networks in the virtual world behave like flashmobs in the physical world; why financial bubbles blow up in our faces and will grow and burst again; why the rich get richer and will continue to get richer regardless of governmental policies; why the future of economic wealth and national power lies in comparative advantage and global trade; why natural disasters will continue to get bigger and happen more frequently; and why the Internet – invented by the US -- is headed for a global monopoly controlled by a non-US corporation. It is also about the extreme innovations and heroic innovators yet to be discovered and recognized over the next 100 years.Complexity theory combines the predictable with the unpredictable. It assumes a nonlinear world of long-tailed distributions instead of the classical linear world of normal distributions. In the complex 21st century, almost nothing is linear or normal. Instead, the world is highly connected, conditional, nonlinear, fractal, and punctuated. Life in the 21st century is a long-tailed random walk – Levy walks -- through extreme events of unprecedented impact. It is an exciting time to be alive.
Alfred Russel Wallace, who with Darwin gave us the foundations of evolutionary theory, despaired of the power of natural selection to explain the intellectual and technological prowess of humans: “Natural selection could only have endowed the savage with a brain a little superior to that of an ape,” he noted (1), pointing to intellectual, linguistic, and technological capabilities way beyond what would seem required for survival. What kind of improbable course of events yielded this excess of competences? In his wide-ranging More Than Nature Needs, Derek Bickerton takes this problem as the starting point for a novel inquiry into the evolution of language.
Scientists have always attempted to explain the world in terms of a few unifying principles. In the fifth century B.C. Democritus boldly claimed that reality is simply a collection of indivisible and eternal parts or atoms. Over the centuries his doctrine has remained a landmark, and much progress in physics is due to its distinction between subjective perception and objective reality. This book discusses theory reduction in physics, which states that the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts: the properties of things are directly determined by their constituent parts. Reductionism deals with the relation between different theories that address different levels of reality, and uses extrapolations to apply that relation in different sciences. Reality shows a complex structure of connections, and the dream of a unified interpretation of all phenomena in several simple laws continues to attract anyone with genuine philosophical and scientific interests. If the most radical reductionist point of view is correct, the relationship between disciplines is strictly inclusive: chemistry becomes physics, biology becomes chemistry, and so on. Eventually, only one science, indeed just a single theory, would survive, with all others merging in the Theory of Everything. Is the current coexistence of different sciences a mere historical venture which will end when the Theory of Everything has been established? Can there be a unified description of nature? Rather than an analysis of full reductionism, this book focuses on aspects of theory reduction in physics and stimulates reflection on related questions: is there any evidence of actual reduction? Are the examples used in the philosophy of science too simplistic? What has been endangered by the search for (the) ultimate truth? Has the dream of reductionist reason created any monsters? Is big science one such monster? What is the point of embedding science Y within science X, if predictions cannot be made on that basis?
The first part of this book is of an epistemological nature and develops an original theory of scientific objectivity, understood in a weak sense (as intersubjective agreement among the specialists) and a strong sense (as having precise concrete referents). In both cases it relies upon the adoption of operational criteria designed within the particular perspective under which any single science considers reality. The “object” so attained has a proper ontological status, dependent on the specific character of the criteria of reference (regional ontologies). This justifies a form of scientific realism. Such perspectives are also the result of a complex cultural-historical situation. The awareness of such a “historical determinacy” of science justifies including in the philosophy of science the problems of ethics of science, relations of science with metaphysics and social dimensions of science that overstep the traditional restriction of the philosophy of science to an epistemology of science. It is to this “context” that the second part of the book is devoted.
The field of nonlinear dynamics and chaos has grown very much over the last few decades and is becoming more and more relevant in different disciplines. This book presents a clear and concise introduction to the field of nonlinear dynamics and chaos, suitable for graduate students in mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering, and in natural sciences in general. It provides a thorough and modern introduction to the concepts of Hamiltonian dynamical systems' theory combining in a comprehensive way classical and quantum mechanical description. It covers a wide range of topics usually not found in similar books. Motivations of the respective subjects and a clear presentation eases the understanding. The book is based on lectures on classical and quantum chaos held by the author at Heidelberg University. It contains exercises and worked examples, which makes it ideal for an introductory course for students as well as for researchers starting to work in the field.
From the bestselling author of Here’s Looking at Euclid, a dazzling new book that turns even the most complex math into a brilliantly entertaining narrative. From triangles, rotations and power laws, to cones, curves and the dreaded calculus, Alex takes you on a journey of mathematical discovery with his signature wit and limitless enthusiasm. He sifts through over 30,000 survey submissions to uncover the world’s favourite number, and meets a mathematician who looks for universes in his garage. He attends the World Mathematical Congress in India, and visits the engineer who designed the first roller-coaster loop. Get hooked on math as Alex delves deep into humankind’s turbulent relationship with numbers, and reveals how they have shaped the world we live in.
This volume describes features of autonomy and integrates them into the recent discussion of factors in evolution. In recent years ideas about major transitions in evolution are undergoing a revolutionary change. They include questions about the origin of evolutionary innovation, their genetic and epigenetic background, the role of the phenotype and of changes in ontogenetic pathways. In the present book, it is argued that it is likewise necessary to question the properties of these innovations and what was qualitatively generated during the macroevolutionary transitions. The author states that a recurring central aspect of macroevolutionary innovations is an increase in individual organismal autonomy whereby it is emancipated from the environment with changes in its capacity for flexibility, self-regulation and self-control of behavior.
This book seeks to re-address the whole question of philosophy and systems thinking for the twenty first century and provide a new work that would be of value to both systems and philosophy. This is a highly opportune time when different fields – critical realism, philosophy of science and systems thinking – are all developing around the same set of concepts and yet not realizing it.
This book will be of interest to the academic systems community worldwide and due to it's interdisciplinary coverage, it will also be of relevance to a wide range of scholars in other disciplines, particularly philosophy but also operational research, information systems, and sociology.
Thomas W. Malone and Michael S. Bernstein (Editors)
Collective intelligence has existed at least as long as humans have, because families, armies, countries, and companies have all--at least sometimes--acted collectively in ways that seem intelligent. But in the last decade or so a new kind of collective intelligence has emerged: groups of people and computers, connected by the Internet, collectively doing intelligent things. In order to understand the possibilities and constraints of these new kinds of intelligence, a new interdisciplinary field is emerging.