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 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.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Simulation Applications of simulation are helpful to scientists and researchers, but they come with a set of advantages and disadvantages.
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.
Genetic Galaxy Defender is a simple space shooter game written in Flash where you play a heroic space pilot defending your motherland from the horde of invading alien robots (that, for some reason, look like Octopi). This is a game I made for a final project in a Systems Engineering class where we focused on biological inspiration in engineering design.
Behind anything that is truly complex there are simple rule sets. This video includes demonstrations of cymatics, which is the visualization of sound waves.
This video from TedTalks is a good overview of the concept of complexity. This is a video from www.ted.com.
If you take a purely determinate function and iterate it over time difficult-to-predict behavior can emerge. If you only use the same function, then the outcome is easily determined and therefore not complex. But if you use more than one determinate function or a set of rules with simple determinate functions then difficult-to-predict behavior may emerge.