hypertext dissertation - by Robyn Stuart


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QUOTE 39 from:

Kirschbaum, D. (April 2002) 'Introduction to Complex Systems'. Available from:; accessed on 5/3/05.

A Complex System is any system which involves a number of elements, arranged in structure(s) which can exist on many scales. These go through processes of change that are not describable by a single rule nor are reducible to only one level of explanation, these levels often include features whose emergence cannot be predicted from their current specifications. Complex Systems Theory also includes the study of the interactions of the many parts of the system.
Previously, when studying a subject, researchers tended to use a reductionist approach which attempted to summarize the dynamics, processes, and change that occurred in terms of lowest common denominators and the simplest, yet most widely provable and applicable elegant explanations.

Scientists are finding that complexity itself is often characterized by a number of important characteristics:
1. Self-organisation
2. Non-linearity
3. Order / chaos dynamic
4. Emergence

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