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.

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).