operationalizing complexity
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complexity and the day-to-day operations of firms
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Simplicity amid Complexity

We live in interesting times as we watch diverse effects of human activities on Earth's climate emerge from natural variability. In predicting the outcome of this evolving inadvertent experiment, climate science faces many challenges, some of which have been outlined in this series of Science Perspectives (1–6): reducing the uncertainty in climate sensitivity; explaining the recent slowdown in the rate of warming and its implications for understanding internal variability; uncovering the factors that control how and where the land will become drier as it warms; quantifying the cooling due to anthropogenic aerosols; explaining the curious evolution of atmospheric methane; and predicting changes in extreme weather. In addition to these challenges, the turbulent and chaotic atmospheric and oceanic flows seemingly limit predictability on various time scales. Is the climate system just too complex for useful prediction?

 

Simplicity amid Complexity
Isaac Held

Science 14 March 2014:
Vol. 343 no. 6176 pp. 1206-1207
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1248447


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Questioning Life and Cognition: Some Foundational Issues in the Paradigm of Enaction

John Stewart's book is a life achievement. It looks at three foundational issues for Enaction envisaged as a tenable paradigm for Cognitive Science: at first, the question of a “missing link” between the first living organisms – which, logically, have been dissipative structures simple enough to arise by spontaneous generation – and the simplest extant organisms that exhibit too complex a DNA-based genetic system to have arisen in that way; secondly, a relatively specific area with the cardinal virtue of being open to empirical refutation, i.e. the primitive immune system of vertebrates. Finally, the author tackles the social dimension of human cognition, presenting some of the basic concepts of sociology that typically need to be integrated into a potential paradigm of Enaction.

 

http://www.enactionseries.com/library/bookjs/co/Original_book_JS.html


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The Math That Predicted the Revolutions Sweeping the Globe Right Now

The Math That Predicted the Revolutions Sweeping the Globe Right Now | operationalizing complexity | Scoop.it
The complex systems theorists who predicted the Arab Spring built a model that predicted the unrest in Ukraine, Venezuela, and Thailand too.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, February 23, 2014 1:02 PM

I wonder if they're saying anything about the United States or Western Europe.

 

Something wicked this way comes.

 

And, when people are going to literally start to starve, it'll be very interesting to see what happens next.

 

Think about it.

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▶ Chaos, Complexity, and Public Policy

Irene Sanders Executive Director and Founder of the Washington Center for Complexity and Public Policy and author of "Strategic Thinking and the New Science: Planning in the Midst of Chaos, Complexity, and Change."

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXxs-JtvkkQ


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Eli Levine's curator insight, February 11, 2014 2:09 PM

A way cool panel discussion.  I wish I could be a full practitioner of this new, empirically based governing and political strategic thinking.

Liz Rykert's curator insight, February 12, 2014 10:34 AM

Loving these new video resources for understanding complexity and it applications.

Luciano Lampi's curator insight, March 23, 2014 9:16 PM

are our politicians aware of these concepts?

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Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts (by Stanislas Dehaene)

Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts

~ Stanislas Dehaene (author) More about this product
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How does our brain generate a conscious thought? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious? Thanks to clever psychological and brain-imaging experiments, scientists are closer to cracking this mystery than ever before.

In this lively book, Stanislas Dehaene describes the pioneering work his lab and the labs of other cognitive neuroscientists worldwide have accomplished in defining, testing, and explaining the brain events behind a conscious state. We can now pin down the neurons that fire when a person reports becoming aware of a piece of information and understand the crucial role unconscious computations play in how we make decisions. The emerging theory enables a test of consciousness in animals, babies, and those with severe brain injuries.

A joyous exploration of the mind and its thrilling complexities, Consciousness and the Brain will excite anyone interested
in cutting-edge science and technology and the vast philosophical, personal, and ethical implications of finally quantifying
consciousness.


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How do life, economy and other complex systems escape the heat death?

The primordial confrontation underlying the existence of our universe can be conceived as the battle between entropy and complexity. The law of ever-increasing entropy (Boltzmann H-theorem) evokes an irreversible, one-directional evolution (or rather involution) going uniformly and monotonically from birth to death. Since the 19th century, this concept is one of the cornerstones and in the same time puzzles of statistical mechanics. On the other hand, there is the empirical experience where one witnesses the emergence, growth and diversification of new self-organized objects with ever-increasing complexity. When modeling them in terms of simple discrete elements one finds that the emergence of collective complex adaptive objects is a rather generic phenomenon governed by a new type of laws. These 'emergence' laws, not connected directly with the fundamental laws of the physical reality, nor acting 'in addition' to them but acting through them were called by Phil Anderson 'More is Different', 'das Maass' by Hegel etc. Even though the 'emergence laws' act through the intermediary of the fundamental laws that govern the individual elementary agents, it turns out that different systems apparently governed by very different fundamental laws: gravity, chemistry, biology, economics, social psychology, end up often with similar emergence laws and outcomes. In particular the emergence of adaptive collective objects endows the system with a granular structure which in turn causes specific macroscopic cycles of intermittent fluctuations.

 

How do life, economy and other complex systems escape the heat death?
Sorin Solomon, Natasa Golo

http://arxiv.org/abs/1402.0153


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Ricardo Hausmann proposes an alternative approach to economic development based on how the human brain functions

Ricardo Hausmann proposes an alternative approach to economic development based on how the human brain functions | operationalizing complexity | Scoop.it
The human brain makes predictions by finding similarities between the patterns in recent sensory inputs and previous experiences stored in its vast memory. The same process is now perfectly feasible for those engaged in promoting economic development.

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Puppies! Now that I’ve got your attention, complexity theory

Animal behavior isn't complicated, but it is complex. Nicolas Perony studies how individual animals -- be they Scottish Terriers, bats or meerkats -- follow simple rules that, collectively, create larger patterns of behavior. And how this complexity born of simplicity can help them adapt to new circumstances, as they arise.

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/nicolas_perony_puppies_now_that_i_ve_got_your_attention_complexity_theory.html


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António F Fonseca's curator insight, February 4, 2014 9:40 AM

The guy seems to be confessing some obscure personal sin but the talk is very interesting.

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Coexistence of critical regimes in interconnected networks

Networks in the real world do not exist as isolated entities, but they are often part of more complicated structures composed of many interconnected network layers. Recent studies have shown that such mutual dependence makes real networked systems exposed to potentially catastrophic failures, and thus there is a urgent necessity to better understand the mechanisms at the basis of this fragility. The theoretical approach to this problem is based on the study of the nature of the phase transitions associated to critical phenomena running on interconnected networks. In particular, it has been shown that many critical phenomena of continuous nature in isolated networks become instead discontinuous, and thus catastrophic, in multi-layer networks when the strength of the interconnections is sufficiently large. In this paper, we show that four main ingredients determine the critical features of a random interconnected network: the strength of the interconnections, the first two moments of the degree distribution of the entire network, and the correlation between intra- and inter-layer degrees. Different mixtures of these ingredients change the location of the critical points, and lead to the emergence a very rich scenario where phase transitions can be either discontinuous or continuous and different regimes can disappear or even coexist.

 

Coexistence of critical regimes in interconnected networks
Filippo Radicchi

http://arxiv.org/abs/1311.7031


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4 Bio-Inspired Tips to Create Better Teams

4 Bio-Inspired Tips to Create Better Teams | operationalizing complexity | Scoop.it

"There’s an entire industry built around how to be a better leader and build strong, dynamic teams. But for the last few years, my colleague and dear friend Jane Fulton Suri and I have been looking to the earth and seas and sky for inspiration. A Partner, Chief Creative Officer, and a founding member of IDEO’s human-centered design practice, Jane believes that the natural world has much to teach us about cultivating the optimal conditions for creative teams. Together, with help from design biologist Tim McGee, we’ve come up with a few bio-inspired tips."


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Rodrigo Canales: The deadly genius of drug cartels | Video on TED.com

Up to 100,000 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico in the last 6 years. We might think this has nothing to do with us, but in fact we are all complicit, says Yale professor Rodrigo Canales in this unflinching talk that turns conventional wisdom about drug cartels on its head. The carnage is not about faceless, ignorant goons mindlessly killing each other but is rather the result of some seriously sophisticated brand management.

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/rodrigo_canales_the_deadly_genius_of_drug_cartels.html


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Complex causality in improving underperforming schools: a complex adaptive systems approach

When designing and implementing policies, policy makers usually assume linear, proportionate causation between interventions and consequences. Yet frequently unexpected consequences occur that seem unintended and disproportionate. This article argues that interventions are more appropriately understood as loops, not lines. System dynamics shows that causes and consequences interact in circular patterns, creating unexpected outcomes and self-reinforcing mechanisms. Some loops are vicious, causing deterioration of the situation, others are virtuous, propelling self-sustaining improvements that exceed original intentions. The article illustrates the circular approach to causality by applying it to interventions aimed at the improvement of the performance of primary schools in the Netherlands.


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Computation, Cognition and Constructivism: Introduction to the Special Issue

Computation, Cognition and Constructivism: Introduction to the Special Issue | operationalizing complexity | Scoop.it

Context: Most constructivist discourse is situated at the philosophical-conceptual level, where arguments appeal to the intuition of the reader, while formal-computational models have only been taken into account to a very limited degree so far. Problem: Two types of problems need to be addressed: Synthetically, can constructivist concepts be turned into actual computational implementations? Can these be further conceptual developments in constructivist theory as such, or are they just an application thereof? Conceptually, does the notion of computation square with constructivist approaches at all? Method: Paradigmatically, we discuss the meaning of “computational” in cognitive agents that comply with constructivist concepts. Also, we summarize the contributions. Results: From a constructivist point of view, the concept of “computational model” is ambiguous and depends on whether it is used in the sense of the computational(ist) theory of mind or simply as a tool. Implications: The insights presented in the contributions to this special issue point in the direction of a computational extension of constructivist approaches as well as a constructivist extension to computational approaches. However, while many of the questions we posed were discussed in the contributions and open peer commentaries, some of them were largely neglected and thus are subject to further discussion.
Key words: Artificial intelligence, artificial life, cognitive sciences, computation, computational theory of mind, constructivism, models

 

Riegler A., Stewart J. & Ziemke T. (2013) Computation, Cognition and Constructivism: Introduction to the Special Issue. Constructivist Foundations 9(1): 1–6. Available at http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/9/1/001.riegler


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Info-computational Constructivism and Cognition

Context: At present, we lack a common understanding of both the process of cognition in living organisms and the construction of knowledge in embodied, embedded cognizing agents in general, including future artifactual cognitive agents under development, such as cognitive robots and softbots. Purpose: This paper aims to show how the info-computational approach (IC) can reinforce constructivist ideas about the nature of cognition and knowledge and, conversely, how constructivist insights (such as that the process of cognition is the process of life) can inspire new models of computing. Method: The info-computational constructive framework is presented for the modeling of cognitive processes in cognizing agents. Parallels are drawn with other constructivist approaches to cognition and knowledge generation. We describe how cognition as a process of life itself functions based on info-computation and how the process of knowledge generation proceeds through interactions with the environment and among agents. Results: Cognition and knowledge generation in a cognizing agent is understood as interaction with the world (potential information), which by processes of natural computation becomes actual information. That actual information after integration becomes knowledge for the agent. Heinz von Foerster is identified as a precursor of natural computing, in particular bio computing. Implications: IC provides a framework for unified study of cognition in living organisms (from the simplest ones, such as bacteria, to the most complex ones) as well as in artifactual cognitive systems. Constructivist content: It supports the constructivist view that knowledge is actively constructed by cognizing agents and shared in a process of social cognition. IC argues that this process can be modeled as info-computation.

 

Info-computational Constructivism and Cognition
Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic

Constructivist Foundations Volume 9 · Number 2 · Pages 223–231

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/9/2/223.dodig


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Connecting Paradigms

The New Science of Cities presents a herculean attempt to bring together widely fragmented approaches to making sense of human social organization with the goal of eventually establishing a consolidated “science of cities” able to answer our questions. Michael Batty bases his argument on the interplay among space, dynamics, and relations. He holds that “to understand place, we must understand flows, and to understand flows we must understand networks.” Batty (a geographer at University College London) also stresses two other principles: an intrinsic order of scale determines a city's form and function, and a science of cities should not merely observe but also predict. The book draws on the work of urbanists, economists, mathematicians, and physicists as well as almost five decades of his own contributions to urban studies.

 

Connecting Paradigms
. Michael Szell


Science 28 February 2014: 

Vol. 343 no. 6174 pp. 970-971
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1249599

 

The New Science of Cities by Michael Batty MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2013. 518 pp. $45, £31.95. ISBN 9780262019521. http://tinyurl.com/kgqugb5


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Complexity Explorer -- Resources

The Resources section contains annotated links to a wide variety of web-based resources related to complex systems. These include journals, conferences, tutorials, software, videos, among other types of resources that will be useful for all levels of interest.


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Customer Loyalty Optimization: Bayesian Networks

Customer Loyalty Optimization: Bayesian Networks | operationalizing complexity | Scoop.it

This tutorial illustrates an innovative market research workflow for deriving marketing and product planning priorities from auto buyer surveys. In this study, we utilize the Strategic Vision New Vehicle Experience Survey, which includes, among many other items, customers’ satisfaction ratings with regard to over 100 individual product attributes.


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Bill Aukett's insight:

How can linear equations, no matter how complicated, demonstrate complexity?

 

the website has some interesting white papers such as http://bayesia.us/assets/bayesian_networks_intro_v17.pdf

 

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Remaking the industrial economy

Remaking the industrial economy | operationalizing complexity | Scoop.it

Visualize, for a moment, the industrial economy as a massive system of conveyor belts—one that directs materials and energy from resource-rich countries to manufacturing powerhouses, such as China, and then spirits the resulting products onward to the United States, Europe, and other destinations, where they are used, discarded, and replaced. While this image is an exaggeration, it does capture the essence of the linear, one-way production model that has dominated global manufacturing since the onset of the Industrial Revolution.

 

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/manufacturing/remaking_the_industrial_economy


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Evolution, You’re Drunk

Evolution, You’re Drunk | operationalizing complexity | Scoop.it

Amoebas are puny, stupid blobs, so scientists were surprised to learn that they contain 200 times more DNA than Einstein did. Because amoebas are made of just one cell, researchers assumed they would be simpler than humans genetically. Plus, amoebas date back farther in time than humans, and simplicity is considered an attribute of primitive beings. It just didn’t make sense.

The idea of directionality in nature, a gradient from simple to complex, began with the Greeks, who called nature physis, meaning growth. That idea subtly extended from changes over an organism’s lifetime, to changes over evolutionary time after Charles Darwin argued that all animals descend from a single common ancestor. When his contemporaries drew evolutionary trees of life, they assumed increasing complexity. Worms originated early in animal evolution.  Creatures with more complex structures originated later. Biologists tweaked evolutionary trees over the following century, but generally, simple organisms continued to precede the complex.

 

http://nautil.us/issue/9/time/evolution-youre-drunk


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Nonlinear Dynamics Analysis of a Self-Organizing Recurrent Neural Network: Chaos Waning

Nonlinear Dynamics Analysis of a Self-Organizing Recurrent Neural Network: Chaos Waning | operationalizing complexity | Scoop.it

Self-organization is thought to play an important role in structuring nervous systems. It frequently arises as a consequence of plasticity mechanisms in neural networks: connectivity determines network dynamics which in turn feed back on network structure through various forms of plasticity. Recently, self-organizing recurrent neural network models (SORNs) have been shown to learn non-trivial structure in their inputs and to reproduce the experimentally observed statistics and fluctuations of synaptic connection strengths in cortex and hippocampus. However, the dynamics in these networks and how they change with network evolution are still poorly understood. Here we investigate the degree of chaos in SORNs by studying how the networks' self-organization changes their response to small perturbations. We study the effect of perturbations to the excitatory-to-excitatory weight matrix on connection strengths and on unit activities. We find that the network dynamics, characterized by an estimate of the maximum Lyapunov exponent, becomes less chaotic during its self-organization, developing into a regime where only few perturbations become amplified. We also find that due to the mixing of discrete and (quasi-)continuous variables in SORNs, small perturbations to the synaptic weights may become amplified only after a substantial delay, a phenomenon we propose to call deferred chaos.

 

Eser J, Zheng P, Triesch J (2014) Nonlinear Dynamics Analysis of a Self-Organizing Recurrent Neural Network: Chaos Waning. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86962. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086962

http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0086962

 

 


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The Metaphysical Baggage of Physics

The Metaphysical Baggage of Physics | operationalizing complexity | Scoop.it

An issue on time would not be complete without a conversation with Lee Smolin. High school dropout, theoretical physicist, and founding member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, Smolin’s life and work reflect many of the values of this magazine. Constantly probing the edges of physics, he has also pushed beyond them, into economics and the philosophy of science, and into popular writing. Not one to shy away from a confrontation, his 2008 book The Trouble with Physics took aim at string theory, calling one of the hottest developments in theoretical physics of the past 50 years a dead end. In his thinking on time too, he has taken a different tack from the mainstream, arguing that the flow of time is not just real, but more fundamental than physical law.

 

http://nautil.us/issue/9/time/the-metaphysical-baggage-of-physics


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Complex Systems Science as a New Transdisciplinary Science, by Paul Bourgine

The new science of complex systems will be at the heart of the future of the Worldwide Knowledge Society. It is providing radical new ways of understanding the physical, biological, ecological, and techno-social universe. Complex Systems are open, value-laden, multi-level, multi-component, reconfigurable systems of systems, situated in turbulent, unstable, and changing environments. They evolve, adapt and transform through internal and external dynamic interactions. They are the source of very difficult scientific challenges for observing, understanding, reconstructing and predicting their multi-scale dynamics. The challenges posed by the multi-scale modelling of both natural and artificial adaptive complex systems can only be met with radically new collective strategies for research and teaching (...)


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june holley's curator insight, December 2, 2013 10:39 AM

The study of complex systems adds a lot of depth to understanding networks.

Complexity Institute's curator insight, December 6, 2013 3:56 AM

Are we ready to recognize a Science as a "Transdisciplinary Science?
Complex systems science is not a science in itself, but it may be considered as a 'Science of Sciences'.
I think this is the most challenging issue to face for a Worldwide Knowledge Society, as Paul Bourgine states.
What are your opinions about this?

Edgar Francisco Pelayo Valencia's curator insight, December 20, 2013 5:26 PM

Future is here!!!

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StartupNectar-The Biommimicry Business Incubator

StartupNectar-The Biommimicry Business Incubator | operationalizing complexity | Scoop.it

"StartupNectar enables early-stage, biomimicry-based ventures to access resources and gain traction in the marketplace. The incubation model is informed by nature’s strategies for creating conditions conducive to life".


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A Neuroscientist's Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious

A Neuroscientist's Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious | operationalizing complexity | Scoop.it

It’s a question that’s perplexed philosophers for centuries and scientists for decades: Where does consciousness come from? We know it exists, at least in ourselves. But how it arises from chemistry and electricity in our brains is an unsolved mystery.

 

Neuroscientist Christof Koch, chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, thinks he might know the answer. According to Koch, consciousness arises within any sufficiently complex, information-processing system. All animals, from humans on down to earthworms, are conscious; even the internet could be. That’s just the way the universe works.

 

“The electric charge of an electron doesn’t arise out of more elemental properties. It simply has a charge,” says Koch. “Likewise, I argue that we live in a universe of space, time, mass, energy, and consciousness arising out of complex systems.”

 

What Koch proposes is a scientifically refined version of an ancient philosophical doctrine called panpsychism — and, coming from someone else, it might sound more like spirituality than science. But Koch has devoted the last three decades to studying the neurological basis of consciousness. His work at the Allen Institute now puts him at the forefront of the BRAIN Initiative, the massive new effort to understand how brains work, which will begin next year.

Koch’s insights have been detailed in dozens of scientific articles and a series of books, including last year’s Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist. WIRED talked to Koch about his understanding of this age-old question.


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The sharing economy and the future of movement in smart, human-scale cities

The sharing economy and the future of movement in smart, human-scale cities | operationalizing complexity | Scoop.it

One of the defining tensions throughout the development of cities has been between our desire for quality of life and our need to move ourselves and the things we depend on around. The former requires space, peace, and safety in which to work, exercise, relax and socialise; the latter requires transport systems which, since the use of horsedrawn transport in medieval cities, have taken up space, created noise and pollution – and are often dangerous. This tension will intensify rapidly in coming years. Not only are our cities growing larger and denser, but (...) our interactions within them are speeding up and intensifying...


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