Complexification: explaining a paradoxical world through the science of surprise

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HarperCollins, Jan 15, 1994 - Mathematics - 320 pages
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Why does time seem to fly on some occasions and drag on others? Why do some societies seem more prone to totalitarianism than others? Why does atonal music sound "worse" to most of us than traditional music? How can a butterfly in Brazil affect the weather in Alaska? The set of ingenious interdisciplinary approaches that are, together, called the science of complexity offers answers to these and dozens of other questions that beg the larger question of why our universe seems so paradoxical. John L. Casti, renowned mathematician and science writer, argues that a complexity that defies human logic is only natural, and he shows directly, engagingly, and with a wealth of illustrations how complexity arises and how it works. Casti explores several types of phenomena that have, until now, consistently eluded science's attempts to understand them: the catastrophic, where a tiny change in a system produces a huge effect (as happens in earthquakes or political revolutions); the chaotic, which includes odd correlations like the ones that make predicting the weather or the stock market so difficu

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About the author (1994)

About the author John L. Casti is a Professor at the Institute for Econometrics, Operations Research, and System Theory at the Technical University of Vienna, Austria. He is the author or editor of nine books, including, most recently, Linear Dynamical Systems and Paradigms Lost: Conflicting Visions of Reality in Modern Science, a science book for the general reader. In addition, he has published over 70 research papers. Professor Casti received his PhD in mathematics from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in 1970.

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