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    Complexity Journals

    Complex Systems & Knowledge Creation

    Other Complex Systems Resources on WWWTools for Complex Systems Research
    • The Swarm Simulation System (Santa Fe)
    • The Swarm Simulation System:A Toolkit for Building Multi-agent Simulations
    • Artificial Life software: MIT Press Artificial Life Online
    • Dynamics of Computation Area (System and Practices Lab, Xerox PARC)
    • Genetic Algorithms Digest
    • UMBC AgentWeb: Intelligent Software Agents Include Finin's articles on intelligent agents.
      • What is Chaos? A working definition from The Qualitative Study of Unstable Aperiodic Behavior in Deterministic Nonlinear Dynamical Systems (Kellert). A more complete defintion of Chaos is offered on Santa Fe Institute's server at: What is Chaos? which is part of the document entitled Messy Futures and Global Brains.
      • What If... You Could Map Out the Future This Feb. 4, 2002, Computerworld article suggest how to apply Complex Adaptive Systems Theory to business planning to enable companies to predict future business conditions by crunching current information. What are the dangers in following these assumptions about determining future from past data? Read in this Santa Fe Institute Paper: An Incompleteness Theorem for Calculating the Future which states: "one can not build a computer which can, for any physical system, take the specification of that system's state as input and then correctly predict its future state before that state actually occurs". Or read what it means in business terms when you bet your future on historical data archived in your computers in these articles: From Information Management to Knowledge Management: Beyond the 'Hi-Tech Hidebound' Systems and Advancing Information Strategy to Internet Time. For more related articles on developing complex adaptive systems that really work, see BRINT Institute's Book on Knowledge Management.
      • Simple Yet Complex: Business Management (CIO, April 15 '98) This article offers a basic outline of complexity theory and its relevance to business. Many other pieces of the puzzle that are not discussed in this article, are explained and discussed in various other sections of @BRINT ( web site, in particular the WWW Virtual Library on Knowledge Management. Complexity theory has been recently occupying the attention of the business managers. However, most traditional management literature has focused on control as a means of compliance instead of self-regulation and self-control and on extraneous rewards and incentives instead of intrinsic motivation. However, a better understanding of autonomous human behavior underpinning individual, group and social interactions is required for appreciating the notions of self-adaptive and emergent systems.
      • Role of Information Technology in Managing Organizational Change and Organizational Interdependence (Malhotra) This article discusses the application of open systems theory for generating propositions regarding the management of organizational change and organizational interdependence. The commonly preferred approaches - goal theory, population ecology, systems resource theory and transaction costs theory - are inadequate in providing a "wholistic" perspective of the organizational issues. This article argues that the survival and growth of organizations in an increasingly turbulent environment would depend upon effective utilization of information technology for aligning the organizational structure with environmental preferences and for creating symbiotic interorganizational structures.
      • Information Systems Management in a Distributed World: As Viewed within the Broader Context of Organizational Change (Mento & McClane)
      • Applying Complex Adaptive Systems Theory to Organizations & Management This web site is the cyberspace home of Uri Merry. Among other articles posted on this site, the following articles are accessible: New Science: New Training and Development and Nonlinear Organizational Dynamics.
      • Complexity Metaphors and the Management of a Knowledge Based Enterprise : An Exploration of Discovery" (Lissack) This dissertation proposal intends to investigate the influence of complexity theory metaphors on competitive positioning, behavior and strategy. An extensive summary of the science of complexity literature and the literature on metaphors is provided. To access Michael's other academic writings on related topics, click here.
      • Insights from Complex Systems (Grobstein) An attempt at creating a general conceptual framework for thinking about complex systems for both scientists and non-scientists.
      • Papers on Adaptive Complex Systems Philosophy of Computation; Image recognition; Learning algorithms; System failures
      • The Man from C.H.A.O.S. Message from this inventor of chaos computer sytem: "To gain control, you've got to lose control." He suggests that American corporations generally resist chaos and prefer reorganization unlike some Japanese who are willing to embrace chaos. The million-dollar question (pun intended) is if American companies can balance the emphasis on a predictable 'bottomline' with the unpredictable future that goes with embracing chaos!
      • Self-Organising Systems FAQ
      • Self-Organization, Autopoiesis, and Enterprises (Whitaker) Increasing interest in self-organization for understanding enterprises ('purposeful social collectives') derives from the appreciation of three key issues: systemic perspectives on enterprises; auto-determination of system form and function; and contextualization. This article cautions against circular reasoning for explaining the notion of a self-determinant system, and recommends explicit specification of the connotation of 'self-organization.' The paper elaborates upon one approach to self-organization, namely autopoiesis. An overview of the autopoietic theory is provided followed by its relevance to theory and practice of social systems.
      • Game Rules, or, Emergence according to Holland, or, Confessions of a Creative Reductionist This review of Holland's more recent work, Emergence, discusses the notion of ``constrained generating procedure,'' or CGP, basic element of which is something which has an internal state and a set of inputs, and whose next state is a function of the current state and those input. The issue arises: if a mechanism is constrained by its current state and 'inputs,' is it truly a generative emergence producing mechanism: does it create the kind of process that is akin to generative learning. If so, how does the system escape from the 'constraints' to account for the 'leaps of insights' and 'leaps of faith' that often account for breakthrough innovation and creativity. On another note, is there truly language of thinking as many scientists are suggesting: can we really see what we are thinking? Can the perceptive measures really capture the speed at which the neurons fire in the process of thinking and often escape from a certain 'stable state' to another 'stable state' which may not be explained by deterministic models.
      • Ross Ashby on Self-Organization The argument that "there's really no such thing as self-organization" is presented in terms of systems that are rule-bound based on internal state of the system and internally or externally generated input that causes the shift from one state to another. However, could such systems be described as self-regulating or self-controlling systems that don't need any input, internal or external? Won't truly self-organizing system be characterized by absence of [convergent] rules or rather generation of multiple anti-rules that continuously assess the ongoing validity of the rules. For instance, systems that may be able to provide simultaniety of the convergent processes often characterized by Lockean and Leibnitzian systems and divergent processes often characterized by Kantian and Hegelian systems.
      • Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams The notion of control and a central controller seems to be based on explicit focus on the main effects while not paying due attention to the interactions that may not be attributable to any single system, its state or its inputs, but to the "messes" that constantly redefine the external environment (back to Emery & Tryst and Terreberry, 1960s). However, the notion of control seems also to ignore the counter-active nature of control - often the controllee tends to become the controller of the controller and the game of control ensues. Instead of pursuing such a self-defeating game of control with 'intelligent' controllees, could there be a possible alternative such as 'let it be.' The references to Piaget seem to rely upon a model of learning that is a relic of the past, being displaced in the theories of motivation and learning by more organismic explanations. Perhaps, time for tying up the 'messes' floating across the disciplinary boundaries that often escape the eyes of trained scientists, in particular, disciplinary 'experts'!!
      • Descartes's Discourse on Method and Self-Organization This explanation provided by comes closest to the notion of self-organization [at least as I relate to it] that underlies the generation of 'new' from the 'old.' The critique of the chaos generating structures that again get lost in chaos may seem plausible for the Newtonian world of 'things.' However, for a world that is unconstrained by the laws of physics - the world of mind, imagination and insights - possibly allows one to wear the Gestaltic lens and construe the existing phenomena without necessarily being constrained by the superficial structures and interpretations that have been imposed upon them. Edge of chaos... creates... absence of 'enforced' structure... allows the diversity of structures that is constrained only by one's own imagination.
      • At Deere They Know A Mad Scientist May Be A Firm's Biggest Asset Companies such as General Motors Corp., Citicorp, Swiss Bank Corp. and Deere & Co., have been applying the concepts of chaos theory and complex adaptive systems in developing 'self-organizing' systems as solutions for business problems. However, the question that arises is if this techno-centric perspective can cope with the dynamic and discontinuous change phenomena or if over the long run these firms would represent the 'hi tech-hide bound' organizations.
      • Learning How to Control Complex Systems (Lloyd) A framework that treats behavior (dynamics) and information processing (control) is used to understand how complex adaptive systems solve problems of control. The two theories: dynamical systems theory and information theory could be used together to formulate a solution for the control of complex adaptive systems. However, control of complex, nonlinear systems requires insight and intuition. "For the algorithm to model the system successfully, it must be an adaptive algorithm: to acquire intuition, one must learn." One caveat that apparently questions the generalizability of this framework to robots as well as humans: Shannon & Weaver's information theory didn't take into account meaning, context, purpose, and similar issues that are relevant in case of human systems.
      • Dan McShea and the Great Chain of Being: Does Evolution Lead to More Complexity? (Zoretich) Is the course of evolution towards more or less complex systems? This is the key question covered by this article which delineates diverse views on this issue. Drawing upon the issues of complexity from biology and chemistry, this article notes that more complex social and organizational systems are made of [individually] simpler parts! For more on Evolution and Complexity, see Evolution, Complexity and Philosophy.
      • How can Chaos Theory be applied to Crisis Management?
      • Chaos Theory and Information Systems Four themes are derived from a discussion of chaos theory: the importance of emergent behaviour, the influence of an essentially arational body of knowledge on decision-making and information systems development, the significance of choice and selection and the significance of chaos theory for the prediction of the effects of information systems.
      • WWW and the Demise of the Clockwork Universe (Munnecke 1994) The author observes that the "clockwork universe" of Newton, Laplace, and Descartes has long been descredited by physicists, its vestiges linger on in the extant thinking of institutions, bureaucracies, economies, universities, software development methodologies, and general zeitgeist. There are several indicators that suggest the decline of the reductionist frenzy. Within the context of managing a large scale enterprise-wide information system, and in contrast to the dominant reductionism in computer science, the author describes a different view of the information system which evolves as a complex adaptive system.
      • Scientific Ideas and Education in the 21st Century (Hartwell 1995) Criticism of the current educational systems as being stuck in the traditional mechanistic model characteristic of the Newtonian, positivist world view, with 

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