Complex systems: Why do they need to evolve and how can evolution be supported

  • Gerhard Fischer
Long Papers
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1454)


We live in a world characterized by evolution—that is, by ongoing processes of development, formation, and growth in both natural and human-created systems. Biology tells us that complex, natural systems are not created all at once but must instead evolve over time. We are becoming increasingly aware that evolutionary processes are ubiquitous and critical for social, educational, and technological innovations as well.

The driving forces behind the evolution of these systems is their use by communities of practice in solving real-world problems as well as the changing nature of the world, specifically as it relates to technology. The seeding, evolutionary growth, and reseeding model is a process description of how this happens. By integrating working and learning in communities of practice, we have created organizational memories that include mechanisms to capture and represent task specifications, work artifacts, and group communications. These memories facilitate organizational learning by supporting the evolution, reorganization, and sustainability of information repositories and by providing mechanisms for access to and delivery of knowledge relevant to current tasks.

Our research focuses specifically on the following claims about design environments embedded within dynamic human organizations: (1) they must evolve because they cannot be completely designed prior to use; (2) they must evolve to some extent at the hands of the users; (3) they must be designed for evolution; and (4) to support this approach with World-Wide Web technology, the Web has to be more than a broadcast medium; it has to support collaborative design.


design evolution domain-oriented design environments seeding evolutionary growth reseeding model (SER model) open versus closed systems 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard Fischer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Colorado, Center for LifeLong Learning & Design (L3D)Department of Computer ScienceBoulderUSA

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