Socio-Ecological Systems

  • Claudio Cioffi-RevillaEmail author
Reference work entry


This chapter provides a unified framework for understanding the ecological triad of coupled human, artificial, and natural systems and processes, based on convergence among the social, engineering, and natural sciences and enabled by computing technology. The framework explains the rise and future of the Anthropocene epoch and a convergence-based approach to civilization, among other phenomena, with roots in earlier paradigms, such as complex adaptive systems and coupled socio-ecological systems, which in turn extend and advance prior knowledge on general systems and cybernetics. The vision is that of a unified science of humans, artifacts, and nature, with a system-of-systems architecture and supported by universal formalisms, systems principles, and object-based computational models calibrated with real-world data.


Coupled human-artificial-natural systems Complex adaptive systems Computational social science Computational ecology Convergence Anthropocene Agent-based models Climate change Complexity science 



This chapter is dedicated to the memory of Herbert A. Simon and Elinor Ostrom, twentieth-century visionaries of a unified science of coupled human, artificial, and natural systems (“Simon’s Triad”). Funding for this study was provided by the US National Science Foundation under grant no. IIS-1125171 and by the Center for Social Complexity at George Mason University. I am grateful to Bill Bainbridge, Dan Rogers, and Rob Axtell for comments on an earlier draft. Jeff Bassett, Ken De Jong, Tim Gulden, Ates Hailegiorgis, Bill Kennedy, Sean Luke, Paul Schopf, and members of the MURI and CDI teams provided earlier discussions.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computational Social Science ProgramCenter for Social Complexity, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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