Science in Society

Bryn Mawr College

Emergent Systems: A Discussion

Schedule and Discussion Links
Participants 2002-03

We meet every Wednesday morning in Park 230, the Emergent Intelligence Laboratory. Coffee and muffins start the meeting off, followed by some kind of discussion or presentation. Our summer meeting time is 8:30 am, with the exception of the month of July, in which we will meet at 7:45 am.
Open to all

"If you knew the algorithm and fed it back say ten thousand times, each time there's be a dot somewhere on the screen. You'd never know where to expect the next dot. But gradually you'd start to see this shape, because every dot will be inside the shape of this leaf. ... The unpredictable and the predetermined unfold together to make everything the way it is. Its how nature creates itself, on every scale, the snowflake and the snowstorm." Tom Stoppard, Arcadia, 1993.

People in a variety of disciplines and walks of life are in the business of trying to make sense of the world. In so doing, all make use of conceptual frameworks, habitual ways of thinking that influence both how one tries to make sense of new observations and the new questions one asks (and doesn't ask). These conceptual frameworks are themselves reflections of the kinds of observations that have and can be made. Computers, like telescopes and microscopes, have opened a whole new world of possible observations. Because of the rapidity with which they can do well-defined calculations, computers have made it possible to explore the consequences of relatively simple interactions of relatively simple things in ways never before possible (try, for example, the Game of Life or Simple Networks, Simple Rules). From this new capability are emerging in different arenas significant insights into phenomena long believed too complex for serious analysis ... and perhaps a new quite general conceptual framework applicable in a variety of disciplines and practical contexts. People who are interested the emergence of "emergent systems" as a way of thinking are invited to join this discussion by contacting Ted Wong, Panama Geer, Doug Blank, or Paul Grobstein. - a collaborative, interactive hypertext discussion of emergent systems

On Line Forum for continuing discussion

Complex Systems on Serendip - additional resources

Schedule and Discussion Links

27 September 2002 Doug Blank and Deepak Kumar Emergence and Robotics
11 October Jim Wright Emergent Complexity in Bronze Age Greece: A Case Study of Settlement and Land Use ca 2000-1200 B.C.E.
1 November Victor Donnay Ideas on Regular and Chaotic Dynamical Systems: A Mathematician's Perspective on Issues in Complex Systems
8 November Panama Geer Swarm Intelligence: An Example (requires Internet Explorer rather than Netscape)
15 November Paul Grobstein Complex Systems: A General Conceptual and Philosphical Perspective?
22 November Panama Geer Swarm Intelligence: Continued
6 December Paul Grobstein Complexity->Emergence: Continued
Jan 22
Discussion on the essence of emergence WhatIsEmergenceWhatIsEmergent
Jan 29 Ted Wong Using NetLogo to Implement Cellular Automata
Feb 5 Ted Wong Generalizing Cellular Automaton Behavior
Feb 12 Kris Tapp Universal Cellular Automata: Universal Turing Machines and How CAs can Emulate Them
Feb 19 Rob Wozniak

To be rescheduled due to inclement weather

Feb 26 Doug Blank Introduction to the Genetic Algorithm, in Python.
Mar 5 Doug Blank Feb. 26 Continuation: Evolution as an Emergent Phenomena, plus videos
Mar 19 Mark Kuperberg Successful Examples of Emergence in the Social Sciences: A partial view
Mar 26 Rob Wozniak A Developmental Psychologist Among the Emergenauts; Or, a Few Preliminary Reflections Made upon Observations Recorded during the Course of a Six-Month Voyage of Discovery Aboard the H.M.S. Emergence.
Apr 2


Continuation of last week's discussion
Apr 9 Tim Burke Emergence & Creativity
Apr 16 Ted Wong GAs, information, and optimal resource allocation in plants
Apr 23 Paul Grobstein Life, Death, and the Cycle of Emergence: Evolution, Entropy, and Matter/Energy/Information
Apr 30 Group Continuation of last week's discussion
May 7 Karen Greif Genes, Proteomics and Genetic Determinism: can we model a cell?
May 14 Group Discussion of summer schedule
May 21   no meeting
May 28 Paul Grobstein The Brain as an Emergent System and ... Characterizer of/Participant in Emergent Systems
June 4 Al Albano Boltzman, Shannon, and information
June 11 Jim Wright Discusses an article about irrigation systems
June 18 Doug Blank Intelligence and emergence
June 25   nothing scheduled
Jul 2   nothing scheduled
Jul 9 Tim Burke Theories of agency
Jul 16 Ted Wong How ecologists view levels of organization
Jul 23    
Jul 30 Rob Wozniak Baldwin's theory
Aug 6    
Aug 13    
Aug 20    
Aug 27    

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Director: Liz McCormack - | Faculty Steering Committee | Secretary: Lisa Kolonay
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Last Modified: Wednesday, 02-May-2018 11:57:04 CDT