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Dynamics Of Complex Systems (Studies in Nonlinearity)

3.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0813341217
ISBN-10: 0813341213
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Yaneer Bar-Yam is President and founder of the New England Complex Systems Institute and Associate in the department of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University. He is the author of the textbook, Dynamics n Complex Systems.
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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Nonlinearity
  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Westview Press (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813341213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813341217
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,699,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a big disappointment. In a 800- hundred pages volume one would expect to find the main ideas of the hot area of complexity. Most of the recent results obtained over the last 10 years are not there. Not a single word on criticality and scaling, modelling of random networks, the implications of critical phenomena to complexity, or the recent approaches to evolutionary dynamics. Even those problems already presented in other monographs (as pattern formation in biology) do not receive an adequate attention to those interested in complexity issues. Save your money.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is designed as a text to introduce graduate students in science to the concepts and methods in the ``science of complexity'' which comprises studies in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, sociology, psychology, economics, anthropology, and philosophy. Written from the perspectives of a physicist, definitions are informal; thus a concise definition of a complex system is not given. The concept of a complex system is introduced through examples, and informally described as having ``a large number of interacting parts'' although ``even a few interacting objects can behave in complex ways.'' More precisely, complexity is defined as ``the amount of information necessary to describe a system.'' Another key concept is the phenomenon of emergence which arises when ``the collective behavior [of a complex system] is not readily understood from the behavior of its parts.''

Dynamics of Complex Systems opens with a long chapter (278 pages) of ``introduction and preliminaries'' which surveys iterative maps; thermodynamics and statistical mechanics; activated processes (glasses); cellular automata; statistical fields; computer simulations; information theory; computation; and fractals, scaling and renormalization. It is suggested that this chapter can serve as the basis for a one-semester course. This introductory chapter is followed by eight chapters devoted two each to four different subjects: neural networks, protein folding, biological evolution, and human civilization. In each of these pairs of chapters, the first is more detailed and the second more general.
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Format: Hardcover
This text provides an excellent introduction to the numerous and diverse techniques used in the study of complex systems. The field of complex systems emerged from a union of ideas from many seemingly disparate areas of research. Where many texts on complex systems speak to this union of ideas, Bar-Yam's text focuses on both the ideas and their implementation in the form of techniques and methods used in the study of these systems. These methodologies originate from many fields of research and several texts could be written about any single one; however I feel that the author has done an excellent job in choosing an important set of problems to present and the detail in which they are presented. This book is appropriate for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. I highly recommended it to my students in my course on complex systems, and if your interests coincide with the topics covered in this book, I highly recommend it to you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yaneer Bar-Yam is affiliated with the New England Complex Systems Institute, and is one of the most significant complexity theory researchers working today. He has an excellent grasp of (and has been instrumental in developing) both the mathematics and the foundational concepts of the field, and it would be difficult to find a more authoritative source. _Dynamics of Complex Systems_ is a monster of a book, coming in at almost 900 pages long and covering a dizzying breadth of topics in varying levels of detail.

This book is not designed as an introductory text, at least not in the standard sense, and will likely be incomprehensible to those who don't already have a significant background in mathematics and the physical sciences. Rather, this book is intended to serve as a general reference for those who already have a graduate-level understanding of more "traditional" aspects of physics and mathematics, but who want to be introduced to non-linear dynamical systems theory and the science of complex systems. It would work decently well as a textbook in a graduate-level course on those topics, though it is beginning to show its age by this point. Complex systems science is developing extremely rapidly as a field, and this book leaves out many of the most important advancements that have taken place in the last ten to fifteen years. This is not necessarily a problem given the book's intended purpose, but someone who wants to have a good understanding of the current state of play in complex systems theory will need to supplement this text with more recent sources.

It works extremely well as a desk reference for researchers and academics working in complexity theory and its adjacent fields.
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