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Ant Encounters: Interaction Networks and Colony Behavior (Primers in Complex Systems)

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691138794
ISBN-10: 0691138796
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Editorial Reviews

Review


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2010


"In her new book, written in a lively style and accessible to a general audience, Gordon describes the sophisticated experiments that led her to intriguing insights about how an ant colony can solve vital problems, such as finding the shortest path to the best food source, allocating workers to different tasks or defending a territory from rivals."--Times Higher Education

"This volume provides a well-focused review of how complex biological systems develop and function, with applications well beyond understanding ant colonies. It may compel behavioral and community ecologists, as well as other non-biologists, to consider new perspectives in understanding interacting systems."--Choice

"This concise, well-written book will be of interest to biologists and complexity scientists, but is written to also be accessible to non-scientists. . . . Ant Encounters is an enjoyable read, full of neat experiments and lively anecdotes illustrating the scientific points."--Elva J. H. Washington, Trends in Ecology and Evolution

"[T]he good and easy to understand introduction to the role of interaction networks in colony behavior--or ants as a natural complex system based on interactions networks--as well as the style of writing makes the book an entertaining read."--Heike Feldhaar, Basic and Applied Ecology

From the Back Cover


"Deborah Gordon has produced a delightful and scholarly introduction to ant colony organization that teaches as it entertains. Building on decades of observation, experimentation, and simulation, she convincingly demonstrates that ants form self-organized communities, in which individual tasks change dynamically as conditions and interaction networks shift. Placing her work in a historical framework that reaches from Darwin to political theory, Gordon conclusively makes the case that ant societies are model systems for the study of collective behavior."--Simon A. Levin, Princeton University


"Deborah Gordon's amazingly detailed book on the complex web of interactions in ant colonies makes fascinating reading for anyone who is curious about the world around us. And--even more interestingly from my point of view--this book provides rich fodder for understanding other kinds of collective intelligence, from neurons in the brain to human societies linked by the Internet."--Thomas W. Malone, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


"Ant societies are like--and not like--human societies. Deborah Gordon's new book takes on these fascinating contradictions and achieves the rare balance of serving as an introduction for those wishing to learn about the wonders of the ant society, as well as a guide to the latest developments in group functioning and development."--Peter Nonacs, University of California, Los Angeles


"Gordon convincingly argues that the behavior of ants within and outside a colony depends largely upon the simple metric of interactions with others. Provocative and stimulating, this book challenges prevailing paradigms and dogmas about social insect behavior. It will engage biologists interested in social insects and nonbiologists interested in complex systems."--Mark Elgar, University of Melbourne


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Product Details

  • Series: Primers in Complex Systems
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (April 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691138796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691138794
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.5 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #331,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Disclosure: I'm a Computer Science student, and a lot of writers in AI refer to ant colonies as a solution-finding system. I do not have any background in ants or biology.

This book was a very interesting read. The author knows her stuff, and she blends storytelling, research, and theory perfectly. I never felt as if it were overly technical/boring, nor did I ever feel as if it was all anecdotal. The author discusses the differing ways ants interact, and then--in a broader view--how colonies interact. She shows how interaction networks of humble units can produce something that looks like intelligence. It's a small book full of surprises, like the ants themselves.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this book --- gets into some very interesting issues relating to complex systems and ant colonies, and written in a very engaging and accessible style.
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Format: Paperback
Implications (often unmentioned) reach to human psychology, socio-biology, nature-nurture, evolution, sociology, cybernetics, etc., etc. This is the way Darwin wrote: don't float conclusions, just pile on the evidence for this paradigm shifting pattern.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book! Great Biologist:)
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