Complexity and Information – Measuring Emergence, Self-organization, and Homeostasis at Multiple Scales

Concepts used in the scientific study of complex systems have become so widespread that their use and abuse has led to ambiguity and confusion in their meaning. In this paper we use information theory to provide abstract and concise measures of complexity, emergence, self-organization, and homeostasis. The purpose is to clarify the meaning of these concepts with the aid of the proposed formal measures. In a simplied version of the measures (focussing on the information produced by a system), emergence becomes the opposite of self-organization, while complexity represents their balance. We use computational experiments on random Boolean networks and elementary cellular automata to illustrate our measures at multiple scales.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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