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Recent years have seen the introduction of concepts from the new and exciting field of complexity science that have captivated the attention of economists, sociologists, engineers, businesspeople, and many others.
• tipping points, the sociological term used to describe moments when unique or rare phenomena become more commonplace;
• the wisdom of crowds, the argument that certain types of groups harness information and make decisions in more effective ways than individuals;
• six degrees of separation, the idea that it takes no more than six steps to find some form of connection between two random individuals; and
• emergence, the idea that new properties, processes, and structures can emerge unexpectedly from complex systems.
Interest in these intriguing concepts is widespread because of the utility of this field. Complexity science can shed light on why businesses or economies succeed and fail, how epidemics spread and can be stopped, and what causes ecological systems to rebalance themselves after a disaster.
In fact, complexity science is a discipline that may well hold the key to unlocking the secrets of some of the most important forces on Earth. But it's also a science that remains largely unknown, even among well-educated people.
Now you can discover and grasp the fundamentals and applications of this amazing field with Understanding Complexity. Professor Scott E. Page—one of the field's most highly regarded teachers, researchers, and real-world practitioners—introduces you to this vibrant and still evolving discipline. In 12 lucid lectures, you learn how complexity science helps us understand the nature and behavior of systems formed of financial markets, corporations, native cultures, governments, and more.
1Complexity—What Is It? Why Does It Matter?
2Simple, Rugged, and Dancing Landscapes
3The Interesting In-Between
4Why Different Is More
5Explore Exploit—The Fundamental Trade-Off
6Emergence I—Why More Is Different
7Emergence II—Network Structure and Function
8Agent-Based Modeling—The New Tool
9Feedbacks—Beehives, QWERTY, the Big Sort
10The Sand Pile—Self-Organized Criticality
11Complexity versus Uncertainty