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Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2017 11:04:01 +0000
From: "[utf-8] Complexity Digest" <[log in to unmask]>
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Subject: [utf-8] Latest Complexity Digest Posts

Learn about the latest and greatest related to complex systems research. More at

Harnessing legal complexity

    Complexity science has spread from its origins in the physical sciences into biological and social sciences (1). Increasingly, the social sciences frame policy problems from the financial system to the food system as complex adaptive systems (CAS) and urge policy-makers to design legal solutions with CAS properties in mind. What is often poorly recognized in these initiatives is that legal systems are also complex adaptive systems (2). Just as it seems unwise to pursue regulatory measures while ignoring known CAS properties of the systems targeted for regulation, so too might failure to appreciate CAS qualities of legal systems yield policies founded upon unrealistic assumptions. Despite a long empirical studies tradition in law, there has been little use of complexity science. With few robust empirical studies of legal systems as CAS, researchers are left to gesture at seemingly evident assertions, with limited scientific support. We outline a research agenda to help fill
this knowledge gap and advance practical applications.

Harnessing legal complexity
J. B. Ruhl, Daniel Martin Katz, Michael J. Bommarito II

Science  31 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6332, pp. 1377-1378
DOI: 10.1126/science.aag3013

Source: (

From chaos to order in active fluids

    There are few sights more spectacular than the swarming of a school of fish or a flock of birds that suddenly gives way to a directional motion. Arguably, our admiration is rooted in the surprise that individual organisms, capable of self-propulsion on their own, organize to move en masse in a coherent fashion. Coherent motion is common in a large class of biological and synthetic materials that are often referred to as active matter. Such materials consist of particles immersed in a fluid that can extract energy from their surroundings (or internal fuel) and convert it into directed motion. Living organisms, biological tissues, rods on a vibrated plate, and self-phoretic colloids are just a few examples (1). Similar to schools of fish and flocks of birds, active matter often exhibits random swarming motion (25) that until now was impossible to control or use. On page 1284 of this issue ( , Wu et al. (6) demonstrate
that an active fluid can be manipulated to flow in a particular direction without any external stimuli by confining it in microchannels.

From chaos to order in active fluids
Alexander Morozov

Science  24 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6331, pp. 1262-1263
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam8998

Source: (

Complex Networks 2017

    * Abstract/Paper submission deadline: September 04, 2017
* Notification of acceptance: October 01, 2017
* Submission of Camera-Ready: October 8, 2017

The 6th International Conference on Complex Networks and Their Applications
November 29 - December 01 2017
Lyon, France

Source: (

Serendipity and strategy in rapid innovation

    Innovation is to organizations what evolution is to organisms: it is how organisations adapt to changes in the environment and improve. Governments, institutions and firms that innovate are more likely to prosper and stand the test of time; those that fail to do so fall behind their competitors and succumb to market and environmental change. Yet despite steady advances in our understanding of evolution, what drives innovation remains elusive. On the one hand, organizations invest heavily in systematic strategies to drive innovation. On the other, historical analysis and individual experience suggest that serendipity plays a significant role in the discovery process. To unify these two perspectives, we analyzed the mathematics of innovation as a search process for viable designs across a universe of building blocks. We then tested our insights using historical data from language, gastronomy and technology. By measuring the number of makeable designs as we acquire more
components, we observed that the relative usefulness of different components is not fixed, but cross each other over time. When these crossovers are unanticipated, they appear to be the result of serendipity. But when we can predict crossovers ahead of time, they offer an opportunity to strategically increase the growth of our product space. Thus we find that the serendipitous and strategic visions of innovation can be viewed as different manifestations of the same thing: the changing importance of component building blocks over time.

Source: (

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Founding Editor: Gottfried Mayer.
Editor-in-Chief: Carlos Gershenson.

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