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, 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: 9780738201429
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 4/2/1999
  • Series: Helix Bks.
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 657,708
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 0.68 (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
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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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2004

    OK but not great

    I expected more out of this book than what it gave me. This book did not eplain or explore chaos as much as I had hoped and was a bit slow through most of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2000

    One Stop Shop for Emergent Behavior AI

    If you wanted a single, engaging book that took you from knowing nothing about how intellgence works to being able to understand it and take advantage of how it works, this is your book. If you're a programmer or engineer, reading this book will teach you how to build a killer AI system for a game or a business application or a robot. If you're not a programmer, don't worry; there's not a single line of computer code or arcane acronym in the book. The things you'll learn about how rational creatures think and learn will help you in a number of ways in your business and personal life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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