Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The attributes of all large complex systems

The followings are all large complex systems:
  1. Economy (including stock markets)
  2. Ecosystem (including individual life)
  3. Social systems (including insect colonies, human society, etc.)
  4. Number systems (including nature, real and imaginary numbers)
  5. Language systems, the linguistics
  6. etc.
  7. The physical universe, encompassing all other systems.

All the above systems have the following attributes:
  1. Stable -- they are all stable systems although many of the "models" of those systems go divergence (unstable). Obviously, it is the problem of the models, not the systems.
  2. Nesting and entanglement --
    • All systems are subsets of the physical universe, by definition.
    • Some systems are nested, such as, individual life (a large complex system) is a subset of a social system which is in turn a subset of the ecosystem, etc..
    • Interaction and entanglement --
      1. Entanglement -- superficially, the number system and the human society can run independently. Yet, every human activity is confined by the number system.
      2. Interaction -- seemingly, the ant colonies and the human society can run independently. Yet, there is some interactions "directly" between the two.

That is, these systems must be both "closed" and "open" at the same time, mutually immanent to each other.
    • Their internal dynamics is closed (or sealed off). At least, it can be expressed with a closed formal system.
    • There are two pathways to openness.
      1. They have openings to interact with other systems.
      2. They can be the bottom for higher hierarchies.

  1. Adaptive -- this is another expression for the attribute "Stable". Being adaptive, all systems above are stable. Yet, this adaptiveness requires the following features.
              a.     Having feedforward / feedback loops (FFD loops).
      1. Feedback -- to alter the previous steps with later steps.
      2. Feedforward -- to alter the previous steps before the later steps.
              b.   These FFD loops need the following mechanisms. 
                           i.  Computing ability -- guaranteed by the computability of every formal system. 
                           ii. Memory -- the values of different steps and their evolution must be remembered for the FFD computation which will lead to hysteresis (not returning to the original state). 

              c.    Every complex system with memory is an emergent system, having creativity. 

              d.   The two mechanisms above (computing ability and memory) are, in fact, the two pillars for the rising of intelligence.

Tienzen (Jeh-Tween) Gong

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