“Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software”

With some interruption this month, I finished reading Steven Johnson‘s book “Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software“.  I watched a Long Now Foundation Seminar About Long-term Thinking given by the author that I found interesting, and decided to read this book of his I’d previously heard of relating to Complexity Theory.

Steven Johnson is a popular-science author, who’s written for various scientific magazines.  He’s also been involved with several nascent website services like online magazines and geo-aware search & communities.  He writes on various loosely related subjects about modern scientific developments, both in subject and in community.

“Emergence” is about just that, emergent systems, or Complex Adaptive System( CAS ) that exhibit synergistic properties.  The author uses various examples in the book, including:

  • self-organizing “slime mold
  • ant-colony behaviour
  • emergent cities, and neighbourhoods within cities
  • cognitive abilities from neurons
  • artificial intelligence techniques

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“SYNC: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order”

I finally resumed and finished reading Steven Strogatz‘s book “SYNC: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order“.

Dr. Strogatz is a professor at Cornell University, and has had a prolific career examining complex systems in diverse fields such as circadian rhythms, Josephson Junctions, and “small-world networks“.  This book captures many of the stories of progress in these and related fields of today’s progressive minds.

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