Universal patters in the dynamics and structure of complex systems
Luis A. Nunes Amaral, Northwestern University

A complex system is a system with a large number of elements, building blocks or agents, capable of interacting with each other and with their environment. The foremost characteristic of a complex system is its ability to display organization without any external organizing principle being applied. The whole is much more that the sum of its parts.

Complex systems are among some of the most elusive and fascinating questions investigated by scientists nowadays: how consciousness arises out of the interactions of the neurons in the brain and between the brain and its environment, how humans create and learn societal rules, or how DNA orchestrates processes in our cells.

Remarkably, in spite of the differences in length scale, type of interactions, and agent types, one finds simple that the dynamics and structure of complex systems obey simple--yet not trivial—statistical patterns.

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