Glider Gun Animated GIF

iOS Apps for Complexity Lovers: Conway’s Game of Life

One important aspect of Complexity Science is the idea of “emergence” or “self-organization,” where simple rules or circumstances lead to events that are not scripted. In other words, where things seem to take on “a life of their own.”  The iOS Apps Life Game Touch and LifeGameHD speeder do a good job of demonstrating the cellular automation “game,” Conway’s Game of Life.

Complexity Science: Now a Magazine on Flipboard

Complexity lovers and learners alike will fall in love with the new Complexity Science magazine on Flipboard. With selections from Jake David and other contributors, this magazine aims to “observe complex and emergent phenomenon in science, society, and art.”  In other words, it brings together articles that might not seem related to Complexity Science together for the complexity reader.

What is a Dollar?

Want to learn more about money? A U.S. Dollar probably isn’t what you think. This Mises Institute article is a good overview of the difference between a Dollar and a Federal Reserve dollar bill. Mises Institute: A Constitutional Dollar

Genetic Algorithm Evolves Cars

It can be hard to find great live visualizations of the Genetic Algorithm, which is a popular and well studied method for providing adaptation to a Complex Adaptive System, but this is a superb example. Created by Rafael Matsunaga, this “Genetic Algorithm 2-D Car Thingy” simulation takes polygons of varying parameters (initialized randomly) and gives each two “wheels” of varying sizes. All of the “cars” are dropped in to the environment and the most fit cars are selected for the next round.

Map of Ireland from The Atlas of Economic Complexity

What is Complexity?

Complexity Science is a relatively new approach to understanding the systems in our lives. Complex systems and complexity science deal with systems that cannot be easily/perfectly predicted (such as the movement of the planets or the weather) or simplified down to a probability (such as flipping a coin or describing the behavior of gas molecules in a room).

The Role of Prices, Part 1

In today’s global economy, we can’t begin to count how many transactions between buyers and sellers happen each day. But who decides the individual costs of all of these goods and services? Why do those costs change over time? Why are some things so ridiculously expensive? In a free-market economy, prices are so much more than the amount of money we pay when we buy something.

Determinate vs Probabilistic

In order to begin to understand complexity, we need to discover what complexity is not. Complexity is the region between the polar opposites, Determinate and Probabilistic. Something determinate can be predicted with certainty. Something probabilistic can be predicted within some statistical bounds (like the flipping of a coin). While complexity includes elements of both of these, it is neither determinate nor probabilistic.