Complexity, Self-Organisation and Emergence: Information-Theoretic Description and the Role of Computer Simulation in their Understanding

Fabio Boschetti, CSIRO CMAR, Australia

Complex Systems Science aims to understand concepts like complexity, self-organization, emergence and adaptation, among others. First, we try to clarify the relation among those concepts: does self-organisation emerge or does it set the preconditions for emergence? Does complexity arise by adaptation or is complexity necessary for adaptation to arise? We propose a classification, together with its information-theoretic interpretation, which can be used as a dictionary of CSS discourse and which may facilitate consistent communications among practitioners.

Second, we address the widespread use of computer modelling to understand complex processes. We shift the emphasis from a computer model to a modelling task, which involves both a model and a modeller and we ask what makes a problem complex and how the use of computer modelling differs when we address complex and non-complex problems. This leads to a discussion on the role of the modeller/scientist in the understanding of complex processes.