Foundations of Complex-System Theories: In Economics, Evolutionary Biologry, and Statistical Physics

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Cambridge University Press, 1998 - Science - 404 pages
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Complex behavior can occur in any system made up of large numbers of interacting constituents, be they atoms in a solid, cells in a living organism, or consumers in a national economy. Analysis of this behavior often involves making important assumptions and approximations, the exact nature of which vary from subject to subject. Foundations of Complex-system Theories begins with a description of the general features of complexity and then examines a range of important concepts, such as theories of composite systems, collective phenomena, emergent properties, and stochastic processes. Each topic is discussed with reference to the fields of statistical physics, evolutionary biology, and economics, thereby highlighting recurrent themes in the study of complex systems. This detailed yet nontechnical book will appeal to anyone who wants to know more about complex systems and their behavior. It will also be of great interest to specialists studying complexity in the physical, biological, and social sciences.

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