Emergence: From Chaos to Order

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In this important book, John H. Holland dramatically shows us that the “emergence” of order from disorder has much to teach us about life, mind and organizations. Creative activities in both the arts and the sciences depend upon an ability to model the world. The most creative of those models exhibits emergent properties, so that “what comes out is more than what goes in.” From the ingenious checkers-playing computer that started beating its creator in game after game, to the emotive creations of the poet, ...

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Overview

In this important book, John H. Holland dramatically shows us that the “emergence” of order from disorder has much to teach us about life, mind and organizations. Creative activities in both the arts and the sciences depend upon an ability to model the world. The most creative of those models exhibits emergent properties, so that “what comes out is more than what goes in.” From the ingenious checkers-playing computer that started beating its creator in game after game, to the emotive creations of the poet, Emergence shows that Holland’s theory successfully predicts many complex behaviors in art and science.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Emergence, where simple systems generate complex ones, is a fundamental concept in many modern scientific theories. Phenomena as diverse as a game of checkers, neural networks, and even the origin of life are emergent. Holland, the developer of "genetic algorithms," demonstrates how mathematical models can represent the essential elements of emergent systems. Though the subject is arcane, Holland's emphasis on modeling appeals to readers' common sense, and he handles the mathematics very adeptly. Frequent recapitulation also helps. Most of the text focuses on the model-building process, with a few selected examples, and thus this book would be a good companion to others that are broader and more speculative, such as Murray Gell-Mann's The Quark and the Jaguar (LJ 4/15/94). For larger public and academic libraries.Gregg Sapp, Univ. of Miami Lib., Coral Gables, Fla.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780201149432
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/6/1998
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.49 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John H. Holland holds joint appointments in the Electrical Engineering and Psychology Departments of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is known worldwide as the “father of genetic algorithms” and as one of the deans of “complexity studies” at the Santa Fe Institute. He is the author of the groundbreaking book Hidden Order: How Adaptation Builds Complexity (also from Perseus Books).
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
1 Before We Proceed 1
2 Games and Numbers 16
3 Maps, Game Theory, and Computer-Based Modeling 28
4 Checkers 53
5 Neural Nets 81
6 Toward a General Setting 115
7 Constrained Generating Procedures 125
8 Samuel's Checkersplayer and Other Models as Cgp's 143
9 Variation 161
10 Levels of Description and Reduction 188
11 Metaphor and Innovation 202
12 Closing 221
References 249
Index 252
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