Complex systems

Article in The Atlantic by Jonathan Rauch: Seeing Around Corners. It’s about simulations, complex systems, and applications of systems-based thinking to historical analysis of things like the fate of the Anasazi in the southwest.

Speaking of simulations that help you understand the world, I assume you know that Stephen Wolfram’s book on cellular automata that is going to explain everything is finally coming out in May? Read his Q&A section that has helpful answers to questions like “I want to study your kind of science. Where can I go to do that?” Here he his describing the basic idea behind his book:

What started my work on A New Kind of Science are the discoveries I made about what simple computer programs can do. One might have thought that if a program was simple it should only do simple things. But amazingly enough, that isn’t even close to correct. And in fact what I’ve discovered is that some of the very simplest imaginable computer programs can do things as complex as anything in our whole universe.