Complexity and Emergent Properties
Consider billiards: the billiard balls travel in nice straight lines, bouncing off the cushions with geometric precision, striking other balls and sending them in predictable directions, obeying Newton’s laws, only restricted by energy loss through friction and imperfect cushions. Introducing spin increases the complexity of the game, as the reaction with the surface can result in curved paths. The game of pool introduces the “absorbing state” of Markov analysis: the pocket. The ball that enters the gravity field of the pocket may fall and be out of play. If the ball does not fall, its trajectory will be changed in a complex way. At the beginning of the game, the balls are racked in an array. The array is struck by the cue ball, sending all the balls around the table. Because the array is not perfectly formed and the cue ball placement and trajectory are not the same each time, the resulting trajectories are not repeatable: a simple geometric game actually involves complexity and chaos theory.
- Fellman, P. V., Bar-Yam, & Minai, A. A. (Eds.). (2015). Conflict and complexity: Countering terrorism, insurgency, ethnic and regional violence. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Mesjasz, C. (2015). Complex systems studies and terrorism. In P. V. Fellman, Y. Bar-Yam, & A. A. Minai (Eds.), Conflict and complexity: Countering terrorism, insurgency, ethnic and regional violence (pp. 35–71). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Santa Fe Institute. (2017, October 18). Introduction to complexity. Retrieved October 18, 2017, from Santa Fe Institute: https://www.santafe.edu/engage/learn/courses/introduction-complexity
- Wikipedia. (2017a, October 18). Complex system. Retrieved October 18, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_system
- Wikipedia. (2017b, October 18). Emergence. Retrieved October 18, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence
- Wikipedia. (2017d, October 17). Linnaean taxonomy. Retrieved October 17, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linnaean_taxonomy