Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos, by M. Mitchell Waldrop

Second paragraph of third chapter:
It was about time. By that point Cowan and his colleagues had begun to hire a small cadre of staffers for the institute, thanks to operating funds that were beginning to trickle in from sources such as the MacArthur Foundation. And those staffers desperately needed a space to call their own. Furthermore, what with the economics meeting coming up and several other workshops being planned, the institute desperately needed a little office space where it could keep its academic visitors happy with desks and telephones. Cowan decided that the convent was small, but workable—and came at a price that was too good to pass up. So in February 1987, the institute staff moved in. And within days they had filled the tiny space to overflowing.
This is a breezy introduction to the interdisciplinary topic of complexity, but I confess I had not realised that it is almost thirty years old, having been published in 1992. It's also a bit too heavily skewed to covering the academic politics of setting up the Santa Fe Institute and not really all that detailed on the core points of what complexity theory actually is, and why it might be useful. So I didn't learn all that much from it, and I think I'll have to keep looking for a good introduction to the topic. You can get it here.
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