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CLASS #4: COMPLEXITY AND THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE REAL WORLD I. Approaching Complexity A. Complexity 1. Complexity is directly proportional to the length of the shortest possible description of that object; something is maximally complex if it is random 2. Economy of description allows us to talk about complexity of just about anything (art, music, literature, etc) 3. The line between the simple and complex is depending on how hard it is to communicate the pattern of symbols to someone else using a given language 4. It is a subjective matter depending on the richness of the language and the cleverness of the person doing the describing and the listener’s ability to use the language. B. Complexity is Subjective 1. What is complex depends upon 2. Complexity is a joint property of the system we are observing and the observer II. Understanding Complexity: Herbert Simon A. Complexity 1. World is 2. World is a system ( set ) 3. Complexity is woven out of simplicity 4. Weaving takes place through evolution B. Hierarchy 1. A system is hierarchic if it can be C. Near Decomposability 1. System is decomposable if the interactions among the subsystems are weak but not negligible relative to the interactions within subsystems D. Redundancy 1. Subsystems are A. Coping with Complexity 2. How complex or simple the world is depends critically on the way in which describe it 3. Look for hierarchy 4. Break into subsystems 5. Explain complex systems subsystem by subsystem 6. Expect redundant structures 1
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III. Modeling Complexity: Senge A. Five Disciplines 1. Systems thinking 2. Personal mastery 3. Mental models 4. Building shared vision 5. Team learning B. A Shift of Mind 1. Systems thinking— a. Focus on interrelationships;
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course PLS 200 taught by Professor Idk during the Fall '08 term at Michigan State University.

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