Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos

Complexity The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos Why did the stock market crash than points on a single Monday in Why do ancient species often remain stable in the fossil record for millions of years and then suddenly disappear In a world w

  • Title: Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos
  • Author: M. Mitchell Waldrop
  • ISBN: 9780671872342
  • Page: 491
  • Format: Paperback
  • Why did the stock market crash than 500 points on a single Monday in 1987 Why do ancient species often remain stable in the fossil record for millions of years and then suddenly disappear In a world where nice guys often finish last, why do humans value trust and cooperation At first glance these questions don t appear to have anything in common, but in fact everyWhy did the stock market crash than 500 points on a single Monday in 1987 Why do ancient species often remain stable in the fossil record for millions of years and then suddenly disappear In a world where nice guys often finish last, why do humans value trust and cooperation At first glance these questions don t appear to have anything in common, but in fact every one of these statements refers to a complex system The science of complexity studies how single elements, such as a species or a stock, spontaneously organize into complicated structures like ecosystems and economies stars become galaxies, and snowflakes avalanches almost as if these systems were obeying a hidden yearning for order Drawing from diverse fields, scientific luminaries such as Nobel Laureates Murray Gell Mann and Kenneth Arrow are studying complexity at a think tank called The Santa Fe Institute The revolutionary new discoveries researchers have made there could change the face of every science from biology to cosmology to economics M Mitchell Waldrop s groundbreaking bestseller takes readers into the hearts and minds of these scientists to tell the story behind this scientific revolution as it unfolds.

    One thought on “Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos”

    1. This book tells the story of the people, places and events involved in the creation of the science of complexity. The story is told well and I found it difficult to put down. This is the only book that, upon finishing it, I have decided to re-read immediately note: I am a geek quite enamored with fractals, chaos, and all things complex.

    2. I cannot recall the last time I enjoyed a book of any kind this much.There is a stark difference between the way a book like this was written in 1990 and the way such books are written just 25 years later. The author, then, had two assumptions: His reader did not know very much, and his reader was very intelligent. M. Mitchell Waldrop, subsequently, explains with brevity and sophistication every idea.Today's equivalent, a catastrophe like The Upright Thinkers, assumes the opposite: Today's reade [...]

    3. Skims over the science in favor of messianic praise for the rogue theorists who began the Santa Fe institute.Reads like an article from Sports Illustrated or Rolling Stone. Skimmed through the second half, and decided not to finish it.Not much substance, but an interesting story if you are interested in the history behind the Santa Fe Institute.

    4. What can I say about this book? Complexity is one of my favorite topics - the world is made of individual agents reacting to limited local factors, and their interaction produces sophisticated emergent systems. Awesome. And this book manages to make it seem like a boring administrative task.Maybe I'm coming to this book too late. I've been seeing the world through complexity-colored glasses for years, so this book seemed plodding. Dull. No matter the discipline, Waldrop barely manages to capture [...]

    5. One of those books that kicked a door open into a whole other realm of a science that I have been looking for my whole life. Emergence, Complex Adaptive Systems, Ecology, Chaos Theory, Simplicity, Neural Networks, Embryology, Cell growth, Evolution, Computer Programming, Immunology, Artificial Intelligence, Human Intelligence, Mathematics, Economies, Earthquakes, Power Laws, Statistics, Physics, Stocks, (and several other subjects I am leaving out due to not wanting to overdo the review) are tou [...]

    6. I've shelved this under philosophy. May move it to a new bookshelf on complexity and emergence. It's a popular book, breezily written, made economics sexy to me, and helped me get a focus on my emerging attraction to complexity theory. It is mightily recommended.

    7. this was my first introduction to Complexity Theory. good general overview but probably outdated by now. i read it in college.

    8. This is the story of the creation of the Santa Fe Institute and the personalities and thinking of the scientists who came together to explore disciplines that just might relate to their own. So we have mathematicians, physicists, biologists, computer programmers and analysts, chemists, astronomers, and many more giving workshops and lectures to one another to explore what lies between order and chaos. (A car key is simple. A car is complicated. A car in traffic is complex.) This book is about co [...]

    9. This is an old book, on my shelf, so finally skimmed it. It's really more a narrative of the people involved in creating the field of complexity economics. From that standpoint, it's a great story of how people interact and how ideas percolate. It's as relevant and true today as it was then. If you want to get a better understanding of what complexity economics is today, read some books by the people covered in this book, like Brian Arthur, or some of the work done at the Santa Fe Institute. I'm [...]

    10. This book is what introduced me to the concepts of emergence and complexity theory. It's easy to read, and follows various scientists from disparate disciplines as they discover and investigate this oddly pervasive concept of complexity. Emergence and complexity theory have changed the way I look at the world, and this book sparked my interest to learn more. If you are curious about complexity theory, this book is a nice introduction.

    11. I read this many years ago when Chaos thoery was all the rage. The book came out in 1992, I probably read this in 1997. This lays out the case for Complexity and introduces the main players at teh Santa Fe Institute. I found this utterly fascinating.

    12. A wonderful book that describes the founding of the Santa Fe Institute and the origins of complexity science. After reading it, my response was, "this is what I want to do."

    13. This book was published 24 years before the date of this review. With a focus on complexity in nature (to include the cell, neural networks, natural selection and evolution, gene expression, and other topics), it is interesting to see how much we have progressed since then, and to see which "new" names in the book from 1992 are sage old guard today. This is probably not a "beach read" for most people. However, the author, himself an accomplished scientific writer (to distinguish him from those w [...]

    14. If you want to look smart, carry this book with you onto a plane or into a park and start reading because wow that title is a mouth full!I forget how I discovered this book. It was mentioned in another book (I believe Flash Boys by Michael Lewis), and I decided to request it from my library, and I am very glad that I did. This book covers a wide range of topics and how they intersect. Everything from Machine Learning to Artificial Life to Economic Theory. It is a story how the leaders of these f [...]

    15. The science of complexity is presented here as an emerging discipline, not to say the discipline of emergence -- oh, and adaptive behavior, nonlinear dynamics, and the unseen forces that drive ecosystems to the edge of chaos (which is not as bad as it sounds). Waldrop covers the development of the new paradigm by interconnecting professional biographies of the leading theorists with the establishment of their interdisciplinary Santa Fe Institute, a place devoted to the exploration of complexity. [...]

    16. What a waste of time and potential this book was. The book tries to deal with complexity science, a new, broad and ill-defined domain which attracted scientists with varying backgrounds: physics, economics, biology. Instead of showing ideas in complexity it shows how certain scientists got on to this idea. This therefore reads mich more like a really bad biography of some obscure people than a science book.

    17. The book has a lot of interesting information about complexity, but it spends a lot of time on the people involved, I would have liked it if the book was more to the point and spent far less time on biographies. The book would be far better at half the length. I'm sure there are better books on Complexity, I'll be looking for them.

    18. Years before I studied anything related to complexity, systems, computational intelligence, or such, this book was a great influence and eye-opener for me.

    19. Eye opening book on the start of the Santa Fe Institute and the multi-disciplinary study of complexity. Will definitely come back to this one.

    20. The book wrote about the establishment of santa fe institute, together with the development of complexity research. Several branches of complexity could be understood from this book, for example: artificial life, neuron network and genetic algorithms, increasing return, phase transition, the edge of chaos, to name a few.

    21. This is a very good introduction to Complexity Theory which is a new field of science which is very very important. The book goes into the people, the theory and experiments of complexity theory. The Sante Fe Institute is where complexity theory was worked on and major breakthroughs made in understanding it through simulations.In its gist, its the study of complex adaptive systems where individual agents interact with each other to self organize spontaneously to create incredibly complex system. [...]

    22. This is an odd book. It explains complex ideas in the form of a narrative. Most of the book surrounds the founding and the characters embedded in the Santa Fe Institute drama, but all of that is by way of organization and presentation in what is basically a disorganized jumble of information. Really, this is almost like a fiction book for the presentation of ideas. Waldrop however only presents the ideas, he doesn't really critique them. Nor does the people in the book seem to do that, since the [...]

    23. Caveat: I bought this book in a used bookstore by accident. I thought it was a book by Melanie Mitchell, who also has a book entitled Complexity. On the positive side, this book presents an interesting picture of the founding of the Sante Fe Institute. Although I am moderately familiar with the complexity field, I did learn a few things by the clever placement of emphasis on certain points, though the presentation remained non-technical. I also thought the book did a good job at presenting perso [...]

    24. This book is from 1992, but it came along at the perfect time for me. It's basically the contemporaneous scientific history of one of my favorite topics: emergence.Written as a narrative, it describes the academic community self-organizing in the 1980's to establish an interdisciplinary branch of science devoted to dynamic systems, with the Santa Fe Institute as its catalyst. A dominant property of these systems is a small set of simple rules leading to highly complex, completely unknowable outp [...]

    25. A biographical account of the founding of the Santa Fe Institute that introduces the basic scientific concepts researched at the institute in its early days.This book really resonated with me. I've been running into the phrase "complexity" in other books and articles I've been reading so it was nice to finally read something on Complexity Science. I will have to re-read it because a bunch of the science went over my head but all in all it was a fairly accessible volume. I have a visual arts back [...]

    26. Robert Sapolsky promises (in Stanford's behavioral biology lectures, available on youtube) that Chaos: Making a New Sciencewill lead subsets of its readers to either spiritual awakening, intense annoyance. or mild confusion. I feel like this book pairs well with Chaos. If you're hooked then these ideas will keep you up at night, but in a good way.Intellectually thrilling ideas wrapped in the history of the emerging field of complexity, artificial life, and emergence. It is thrilling to read abou [...]

    27. This book served as my introduction to complex adaptive systems. I read it in 1994 and have been fascinated by the subject ever since. It's well written and engaging, and follows the established popular science formula of threading technical explanations of topics in science and math into a series of stories about the people who are developing and expanding upon those topics. It seemed a little disjointed at times, but the scientific explanations were generally clear and quite good. In fact, Wal [...]

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