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Math Trek

A frustrating view of complexity

The unifying theme of complex systems, a researcher argues, is frustration.

By
2:37pm, October 24, 2008

In the 1980s, an inkling emerged among some scientists that very disparate phenomena might on some deep level be related. The weather, protein folding, computers, evolution, the stock market, the immune system … each shows complex behavior arising from fairly simple interactions among its parts.

For the past 20 years, researchers have labored to understand how these and other “complex systems” work. But there’s still no agreement about ev

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