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Complex Adaptive Systems and the Threshold Effect:
Views from the Natural and Social Sciences
Complex Adaptive Systems have proven to be a powerful tool for exploring these and other related phenomena. We characterize a general CAS model as having a large number of self-similar agents that: 1) utilize one or more levels of feedback; 2) exhibit emergent properties and self-organization; and 3) produce non-linear dynamic behavior. Advances in modeling and computing technology have led not only to a deeper understanding of complex systems in many areas, but they have also raised the possibility that similar fundamental principles may be at work across these systems, even though the underlying principles may manifest themselves differently.
Our goal is to bring together researchers from diverse fields who study these complex systems using the tools and techniques of CAS. We will highlight threshold effects in various disciplines as one avenue towards exposing common dynamics that are found in these disparate domains. In the past, knowledge gained in each domain about threshold effects has remained mostly exclusive to that domain, especially when the disciplines are far apart. It is our belief that by bringing together scholars who study these phenomena, we can leverage a deep knowledge of one domain to gain insight into others.