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# Complexity: A Guided Tour

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What enables individually simple insects like ants to act with such precision and purpose as a group? How do trillions of neurons produce something as extraordinarily complex as consciousness? In this remarkably clear and companionable book, leading complex systems scientist Melanie Mitchell provides an intimate tour of the sciences of complexity, a broad set of efforts th
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## Get A Copy

Hardcover, 368 pages

Published
April 1st 2009
by Oxford University Press, USA
(first published March 2nd 2009)

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A very informative and easy-to-read book on complexity and complex systems. Although I learned a lot about the computer science and biological perspectives to complexity and I enjoyed it, but I think the focus on these perspectives is too much and very detailed which leaves very little space for equally interesting perspectives, such as socio-economic approach, or the so called complex adaptive systems approach. Therefore, the book on complex adaptive systems by Miller and Page m ...more

Nice introductory book about a number of topics in the emerging field of "complexity".

Complexity is a very broad subject, still under significant theoretical development, that touches upon many scientific fields such as biology, computer sciences, information theory, genetics, network theory etc, so this book occasionally feels a bit disjointed (which is unavoidable considering the nature of the subject) - it must be said however that the author manages to convey, in a clear manner, the main fe ...more

For those interested in a general and easily readable h ...more

For me it was a quick, fun read that put the different topics together quite nicely. And se ...more

This book made me flash-back to my Computer Science studies, but in a very good way. It touches on theoretical foundations (Turing Machines, decidability, halting problem, genetic algorithms, fractals, laws of thermodynamics, ...) but the writing is very fluent and approachable.

The author introduced me to the field of Network Theory, a science that builds on graph theory. It leads to interesting questions (and answers!) ...more

It took me a couple of weeks to read through this book, and I am glad. This way I could reflect ...more

The author teaches a famous introductive course on complexity in SFI (a MOOC on Complexity Explorer), I wasn't successful to enrol it in due time, but this book quite tackles all the chapters of the course.

The equations aren't hard to understand as she expl ...more

It felt like I was carefully examining a specific puzzle piece and then I’d set it down and examine another piece intently but it never fit with the previous or consecutive pieces. In the end I was still left with a jumbled pile of puzzle pieces. Granted I can see the contours of the individual pieces a little more clearly but I’m sti ...more

If you have pondered any of these questions, "Complexity: A Guided Tour" is just the book for you.1

Any computer scientist who graduated in the last ten or so years would have covered some of the topics in Melanie Mitchell's "Complexity: A Guided Tour", and would have probably wished that they had Ms. Mitchell as a lecturer!

Ms. Mitchell is clearly passionate ...more

I'm also impressed about the overall

*niceness*of this book - for ...more

An audio interview about this book is found here

http://www.wicn.org/audio/by/title/me...

...more

Why is this subject important? Want to know how the brain works? It is a complex network of neurons, and thought is an emergent phenomenon. Want to know ho ...more

However, there were several points where I felt incredibly bored, specifically from when she began to describe her PhD thesis. I think the bits o ...more

The most challenging part was the chapter on the halting problem and Turing machines. If you got through that, the rest of the book won't be too much of a challenge.

I was surprised to find out how many topics I was already familiar with (to varying degrees), but have seen from a slightly different perspective while reading this book.

Definitely recommended ! ...more

273-Complexity-Melanie Mitchell-Science-2009

Barack

2020 / 09 / 17

" Complexity ", first published in the United States in 2009. Natural science books. It provides a detailed introduction to complexity science, trying to explain how complex, organized, and adaptive behaviors emerge through simple interactions.

Melanie Mitchell was born in the United States. He was educated at Brown University, in 1990 Nian to the University of Michigan Ph.D. Representative works: " Artificial Intelligence: A Guide ...more

There is a lot to like: all of the greatest hits are here with suitable background knowledge (bifurcation in logistics maps, numerical chaos, cellular automata, genetic algorithms and adaptation, information theory, theory ...more

The ...more

“One striking instance of Evo-Devo in action is the famous example of the evolution of finches’ beaks. As I described in chapter 5, Darwin observed large variations in beak size and shape among finches native to the Galápagos Islands. Until recently, most evolutionary biologists would have assumed that such variations resulted from a gradual process in which chance mutations of several dif ...more

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Melanie Mitchell is a professor of computer science at Portland State University. She has worked at the Santa Fe Institute and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her major work has been in the areas of analogical reasoning, complex systems, genetic algorithms and cellular automata, and her publications in those fields are frequently cited.

She received her PhD in 1990 from the University of Michigan u ...more

She received her PhD in 1990 from the University of Michigan u ...more

## News & Interviews

The glint of fangs in the dark, the sound of tap-tap-tapping at your window, the howling of wind (or is it just wind?) in the trees...that's...

319 likes · 59 comments

“This statement is not provable.” Think about it for a minute. It’s a strange statement, since it talks about itself—in fact, it asserts that it is not provable. Let’s call this statement “Statement A.” Now, suppose Statement A could indeed be proved. But then it would be false (since it states that it cannot be proved). That would mean a false statement could be proved—arithmetic would be inconsistent. Okay, let’s assume the opposite, that Statement A cannot be proved. That would mean that Statement A is true (because it asserts that it cannot be proved), but then there is a true statement that cannot be proved—arithmetic would be incomplete. Ergo, arithmetic is either inconsistent or incomplete.”
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6 likes

“Whew, this might be getting a bit confusing. I hope you are following me so far. This is the point in every Theory of Computation course at which students either throw up their hands and say "I can't get my mind around this stuff!" or clap their hands and say "I love this stuff!"

Needless to say, I was the second kind of student, even though I shared the confusion of the first.”
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More quotes…
Needless to say, I was the second kind of student, even though I shared the confusion of the first.”