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Self-Organized Criticality: Emergent Complex Behavior in Physical and Biological Systems

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Overview

Self-organized criticality (SOC) maintains that complex behavior can develop spontaneously in certain multi-body systems whose dynamics vary abruptly. This is a clear and concise introduction to the field of self-organized criticality, and contains an overview of the main research results. The author begins with an examination of what is meant by SOC, and the systems in which it can occur. He then presents and analyzes computer models to describe a number of systems, explaining the different mathematical formalisms developed to understand SOC. The final chapter assesses the impact of this field of study, and highlights some key areas of new research. The author assumes no previous knowledge of the field, and the book contains several exercises. It will be ideal as a textbook for graduate students taking physics, engineering, or mathematical biology courses in nonlinear science or complexity.

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Editorial Reviews

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"...describes clearly and concisely the basic ideas and the experimental evidence...and then balances the evidence and argues, in a soft voice and a mild manner, that SOC is a good idea and is at least worth looking into. And it is hard to disagree, when the proposal is stated in such gracious and intelligent terms...This book overall is eminently pleasing to read." Physics Today
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521483711
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Series: Cambridge Lecture Notes in Physics Series , #10
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Characterization of the SOC state; 3. Systems exhibiting SOC; 4. Computer models; 5. The search for a formalism; 6. Is it SOC or is it not?; Appendices.

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