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 Barry Wellman

  S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, FRSC               NetLab Director
  Department of Sociology                  725 Spadina Avenue, Room 388
  University of Toronto   Toronto Canada M5S 2J4   twitter:barrywellman             fax:+1-416-978-3963
  Updating history:

 Networked buffering: a basic mechanism for distributed robustness in
complex adaptive systems , arXiv

Excerpt: This paper proposes a generic design principle for generating
robust traits in complex systems that requires two basic conditions to be
satisfied: 1) agents are versatile enough to perform more than one single
functional role within a system and 2) agents are degenerate, i.e. there
exists a partial overlap in the functional capabilities of agents. Our
principle claim is formulated within the so-called networked buffering
hypothesis. It outlines how degenerate systems may readily produce a
distributed response to local perturbations and reciprocally how excess
resources related to a single function can indirectly support multiple
unrelated functions within a degenerate system.

* [20] Networked buffering: a basic mechanism for distributed robustness
in complex adaptive systems, James Whitacre and Axel Bender, 2009/12/10,


 The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life ,

Summary:  One of the greatest discoveries of recent times is that the
complex patterns we find in life are often produced when all of the
individuals in a group follow the same simple rule. This process of
√Ę‚^¬¨Ň^”self- organization√Ę‚^¬¨¬^› reveals itself in the inanimate
worlds of crystals and seashells, but as Len Fisher shows, it is also
evident in living organisms, from fish to ants to human beings.
Fisher√Ę‚^¬¨‚^ńĘs investigation encompasses topics ranging from √Ę
‚^¬¨Ň^”swarm intelligence√Ę‚^¬¨¬^› to the science of parties and the best
ways to start a fad. Finally, Fisher sheds light on the beauty and utility
of complexity theory. * [32]
The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity
in Everyday Life, Len Fisher. New York: Basic Books. 2009,


Summary:  What happens to scientific knowledge when researchers outside
the natural sciences bring elements of the latest trend across
disciplinary boundaries for their own purposes? Researchers in fields from
anthropology to family therapy and traffic planning employ the concepts,
methods, and results of chaos theory to harness the disciplinary prestige
of the natural sciences, to motivate methodological change or conceptual
reorganization within their home discipline, and to justify public
policies and aesthetic judgments.  Using the recent explosion in the use
(and abuse) of chaos theory, this book examines the relationship between
science and other disciplines as well as the place of scientific knowledge
within our broader culture. Stephen H. Kellert√Ę ‚^¬¨‚^ńĘs detailed
investigation of the myriad uses of chaos theory reveals serious problems
that can arise in the interchange between science and other
knowledge-making pursuits, as well as opportunities for constructive

* [36] Borrowed Knowledge: Chaos Theory and the Challenge of Learning
Disciplines, Stephen H. Kellert, 2008/12/01, University Of Chicago Press

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