Complexity and Self-organization


This article  introduces some of  the main concepts and methods of  the science studying complexself-organizing  systems and  networks,  in  a  non-technical  manner.  Complexity  cannot  be  strictly  defined,  only  situated  in  between  order  and  disorder. A complex  system  is  typically modeled  as  a  collection  of  interacting  agents,  representing components as diverse as people, cells or molecules. Because of  the non-linearity of  the interactions,  the  overall  system  evolution  is  to  an  important  degree  unpredictable  and uncontrollable.  However,  the  system  tends  to  self-organize,  in  the  sense  that  local interactions eventually produce global coordination and synergy. The  resulting structure can  in many cases be modeled as a network, with  stabilized  interactions  functioning as links connecting the agents. Such complex, self-organized networks typically exhibit the properties of clustering, being  scale-free, and  forming a  small world. These  ideas have obvious applications in information science when studying networks of authors and their publications.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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