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.

Solving the „Tracking Game“

The „tracking game“ is a nonlinear extension of the linear regulator problem (also known as „tracking problem“), which is well known from LQ optimal control theory. Such a game taking place in a shared environment is characterized by the fact that the effectiveness of individual decisions heavily depends on the decisions of other players.

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).

A Complexity Science View of Marketing

The marketing world has changed.  Previously we tended to assume a direct consequence of a marketing initiative on a consumer (hell, even proved it qualitatively and quantitatively), and the trick was to scale this as widely as we could.  One consumer sees an ad we know they like, buys a product, therefore let’s get as many consumers to see the ad.

Public Goods Game

Selfishness and Cooperation

Evolutionary methods can be used to shine a light on the conditions for selfish or cooperative behavior. Imagine a situation, where you have to work together with a team of random strangers. The outcome will be depending on the sum of the individual efforts, but the success will be equally shared afterwards. In a computer experiment, we have investigated the evolution of cooperative behavior in two scenarios. Players were randomly divided into groups and had the chance to increase their investment by paying money into a pot where it was multiplied. The players were controlled by a neural network…

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.