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Dynamics Of Complex Systems (Studies in Nonlinearity) Paperback – August 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0813341217 ISBN-10: 0813341213

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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: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,992,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

The writing is highly engaging and stimulating with a broad range of topics.
ilya
Entropy is not a proper measure of disorder or uncertainty; the 2nd law of entropy increase of the universe applied long before there were any observers.
Glenn L. E. May
The book is a tour around the paradigms used by scientists in Complex Systems.
Surviving Modern Scientist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 1999
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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Alwyn Scott on April 3, 2005
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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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 1999
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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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Lee D. Carlson HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 14, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
That physical systems are complex has been acknowledged for centuries, but only in recent decades has the scientific community, especially physicists and biologists, directly confronted complexity. This book discusses complex systems from the dynamical systems perspective, and as such can be read by physicists, mathematicians, and mathematical biologists. Biologists in particular will find the discussion of `emergence' the most important one, especially systems biologists. Physicists and mathematicians who study dynamical systems tend to not be concerned with their origins, whether they are in biology or some other area. But physicists do concern themselves with the experimental relevance of dynamical systems, unlike mathematicians who are sorely concerned with their formal properties, and do not care at all if they can find expression in the real world. But it goes without saying that the theory of complex systems has found application in finance, genetic engineering, cryptography, network engineering, and many other areas. This book gives a good overview of the techniques used to study complex systems, and can be read by anyone with the necessary mathematical preparation, consisting of probability theory and elementary calculus.

Systems that are simple can become complex by only a slight alteration in their configuration. The gravitational three-body system in classical mechanics is a good example of this. The dynamics of two objects interacting gravitationally can be solved explicitly, but the system consisting of three bodies cannot. The complexity in these two cases is measured by the availability of solutions to the dynamics of the system. The author is very aware that more involved measures of complexity are needed and he gives examples of these in the book.
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