Getting a handle on chaos and complexity


This article, whilst written from a technology perspective, makes some very good points. But the reader needs to apply the simple logic of the factual statements and apply them to the environment in which they operate to actually understand the point. I know that sounds pretty obvious but I just want to make sure that the message isn’t dismissed because you don’t have a direct involvement or responsibility for IT, power plants or aircraft!

Rather than run the risk of insulting anyone’s intelligence any further I will merely point out that a business (system), department, team, division, etc. is part of a “networked environment”. so, “GO FIGURE”!

…in a networked environment, a minor difference in configuration could trigger a downstream failure that’s unpredictable and thus, unpreventable. These types of problems arise in virtually any complex environment (including nuclear power plants and airplanes in flight).

Interestingly, chaotic behavior often arises from very simple relationships. In other words, a complex system that is constructed of simple, deterministic building blocks can nonetheless display chaotic behavior. (Surprisingly, this mathematical conception of chaos was accurately captured in 1945 by the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, who described it as, “Something simple yet not understood.”)

via Getting a handle on chaos and complexity.

Complexity: The Secret Life of Chaos


An absolutely stunning, fascinating, beautiful BBC documentary that is required viewing for every thinking person on the planet. From the earliest thoughts of Alan Turing (father of computers) in Part 1, through Mandelbrot’s fractals, to computerised brains in Part 7 this is riveting. An absolute joy!!!

From chaos to complexity, simplicity and back again!

When people ask me about what I do, or what Ontonix does, the explanation can be as complex or simple as the subject itself. So much of it depends upon the enquirers’ understanding of the planet, their environment or  themselves. But it can also be about how “open” someone is to thinking (often) “beyond” what they have grown familiar with.

An understanding of complex systems and an appreciation of our inability to predict outcomes should serve us well. With non-linear systems, IF we must make assumptions: assume and cater for the worst foreseeable outcome. Do NOT be fooled by past results for, it is not the “known knowns” of risk but the “unknowns” of uncertainty that we have to deal with. The “price” of, apparently minor miscalculations deviations or events  can have major impacts as “feedback” loops across the system and connected systems.

Personalising systems, chaos and complexity


The Automatic Earth is a blog that, unlike others that tend to deal with financial or socio-economic issues, tell it how it is. DO YOUR FAMILY A FAVOUR and watch the video.

 

Below I have included an extract from one of their (consistently excellent) blog items that, I hope, will give you some flavour of just why I keep referring to systems and why understanding the basics of “Chaos Theory” and complexity are so important in everything that we are and do.

 

A blog worthy of tribute and a poignant video especially for US citizens

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"For Want of a Nail" – A Proverb of Chaos (via Catagenesis)


Gaining an understanding of “Chaos & Complexity” and how they affect or underpin just about every aspect of modern life is highly recommended. This is a great little “taster”.

YOU are the ultimate complex system! So it is something that is relevant to EVERYONE.Mammalian Lung

The understanding that, such as, Benoit Mandelbrot brought to the subject has been invaluable. If you struggle to get your head around self-similarity, with smaller and smaller recurring shapes or patterns, you may feel more inclined to consider it if you knew that, thanks to fractal scaling, the surface area of human lungs is equivalent to 160 sq. metres or a singles tennis court. They contain circa 300 million alveoli (pockets for storage of air to allow absorption into the blood stream). All contained within a capacity of 6 litres.

Needless to say our lungs are enormously complex on their own but when you consider that they only work as an interdependent part of our body it is EXTREMELY hard to be believe that these just evolved…a conversation for another day I think!!!

If the above and following don’t  whet your appetite to learn more or get you to thinking about our complex relationships with each other, with the environment, with technology, in business or the “unseen” networks that enable development, assembly and delivery of goods to your door then I can recommend the Dilbert widget although I can’t guarantee that you will be able to follow every storyline.

"For Want of a Nail" - A Proverb of Chaos

As a Christmas gift, I received a set of video lectures by The Teaching Company entitled “Chaos.”  The course, presented by a well known educator on the subject, Professor Steven Strogatz, explores the history, science and implications of chaos theory.  I feel confident in saying that chaos theory is still not nearly as appreciated as it probably should be, given how fundamental of a breakthrough in scientific perspective it represents. I am very … Read More

via Catagenesis

USA on the Edge of Chaos!?


I always thought I had a good idea what Tainter and (to some extent) Beck were alluding to when referring to “elites”, essentially, bringing the house down rather than give up what they have grown so accustomed to viewing as theirs to do with what they liked. But this piece is mind-blowing and so blatant SOMEONE needs to call a halt to it all now or the dollar won’t last until 2015 and I dread to think of the implications for US citizens….WikiLeaks exposing some truths should be the least of their worries.

Noam Chomsky has recently talked of the “profound hatred for democracy on the part of our Political leadership” and, more controversially drew comparisons with late Weimar Germany

Government Says No to Helping States and Main Street, While Continuing to Throw Trillions at the Giant Banks

If you can spare an hour (or so) please listen to what Prof Ferguson has to say. Initially I was on really interested to hear what he said about the relationship between Empires – Complexity Theory – Economics but I was unable to drag myself away. BUT do yourself a favour, skip the intro (it’s torture), click to “Watch Full Program” and, at least, spare 8mins to absorb Chapter 4. Unless you are pressed for time…or already know everything…you WILL … Read More

via Get “fit for randomness” [with Ontonix UK]

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