An Introduction to Complex Systems

Society, Ecology, and Nonlinear Dynamics

  • PaulĀ Fieguth

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 1-3
  3. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 5-12
  4. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 13-39
  5. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 41-65
  6. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 67-96
  7. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 97-134
  8. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 135-168
  9. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 169-210
  10. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 211-244
  11. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 245-269
  12. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 271-308
  13. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 309-318
  14. Paul Fieguth
    Pages 319-321
  15. Back Matter
    Pages 323-346

About this book


This undergraduate text explores a variety of large-scale phenomena - global warming, ice ages, water, poverty - and uses these case studies as a motivation to explore nonlinear dynamics, power-law statistics, and complex systems. Although the detailed mathematical descriptions of these topics can be challenging, the consequences of a system being nonlinear, power-law, or complex are in fact quite accessible. This book blends a tutorial approach to the mathematical aspects of complex systems together with a complementary narrative on the global/ecological/societal implications of such systems.

Nearly all engineering undergraduate courses focus on mathematics and systems which are small scale, linear, and Gaussian. Unfortunately there is not a single large-scale ecological or social phenomenon that is scalar, linear, and Gaussian. This book offers students insights to better understand the large-scale problems facing the world and to realize that these cannot be solved by a single, narrow academic field or perspective.

Instead, the book seeks to emphasize understanding, concepts, and ideas, in a way that is mathematically rigorous, so that the concepts do not feel vague, but not so technical that the mathematics get in the way. The book is intended for undergraduate students in a technical domain such as engineering, computer science, physics, mathematics, and environmental studies.


Undergraduate complexity textbook Complex systems in society Earth and societal systems Case studies of complex systems Critical transitions Nonlinear dynamic systems Complexity applied to environmental problems

Authors and affiliations

  • PaulĀ Fieguth
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Physics and Astronomy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-44605-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-44606-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site