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Chaos & Systems


How Nature Works: the science of self-organized criticality

How Nature Works: the science of self-organized criticality Lowest new price: $14.40
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Author: Per Bak

Self-organized criticality, the spontaneous development of systems to a critical state, is the first general theory of complex systems with a firm mathematical basis. This theory describes how many seemingly desperate aspects of the world, from stock market crashes to mass extinctions, avalanches to solar flares, all share a set of simple, easily described properties.
"...a'must read'...Bak writes with such ease and lucidity, and his ideas are so intriguing...essential reading for those interested in complex systems...it will reward a sufficiently skeptical reader." -NATURE
"...presents the theory (self-organized criticality) in a form easily absorbed by the non-mathematically inclined reader." -BOSTON BOOK REVIEW
"I picture Bak as a kind of scientific musketeer; flamboyant, touchy, full of swagger and ready to join every fray... His book is written with panache. The style is brisk, the content stimulating. I recommend it as a bracing experience." -NEW SCIENTIST

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Nonlinear Dynamics And Chaos: With Applications To Physics, Biology, Chemistry, And Engineering (Studies in Nonlinearity)

Nonlinear Dynamics And Chaos: With Applications To Physics, Biology, Chemistry, And Engineering (Studies in Nonlinearity) Lowest new price: $50.00
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Author: Steven H. Strogatz

This textbook is aimed at newcomers to nonlinear dynamics and chaos, especially students taking a first course in the subject. The presentation stresses analytical methods, concrete examples and geometric intuition. The theory is developed systematically, starting with first-order differential equations and their bifurcations, followed by phase plane analysis, limit cycles and their bifurcations, and culminating with the Lorenz equations, chaos, iterated maps, period doubling, renormalization, fractals, and strange attractors.A unique feature of the book is its emphasis on applications. These include mechanical vibrations, lasers, biological rhythms, superconducting circuits, insect outbreaks, chemical oscillators, genetic control systems, chaotic waterwheels, and even a technique for using chaos to send secret messages. In each case, the scientific background is explained at an elementary level and closely integrated with the mathematical theory.Richly illustrated, and with many exercises and worked examples, this book is ideal for an introductory course at the junior/senior or first-year graduate level. It is also ideal for the scientist who has not had formal instruction in nonlinear dynamics, but who now desires to begin informal study. The prerequisites are multivariable calculus and introductory physics.

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The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems

The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems Lowest new price: $6.65
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Author: Fritjof Capra
Brand: Capra, Fritjof

The vitality and accessibility of Fritjof Capra's ideas have made him perhaps the most eloquent spokesperson of the latest findings emerging at the frontiers of scientific, social, and philosophical thought. In his international bestsellers The Tao of Physics and The Turning Point, he juxtaposed physics and mysticism to define a new vision of reality. In The Web of Life, Capra takes yet another giant step, setting forth a new scientific language to describe interrelationships and interdependence of psychological, biological, physical, social, and cultural phenomena--the "web of life."



During the past twenty-five years, scientists have challenged conventional views of evolution and the organization of living systems and have developed new theories with revolutionary philosophical and social implications. Fritjof Capra has been at the forefront of this revolution. In The Web of Life, Capra offers a brilliant synthesis of such recent scientific breakthroughs as the theory of complexity, Gaia theory, chaos theory, and other explanations of the properties of organisms, social systems, and ecosystems. Capra's surprising findings stand in stark contrast to accepted paradigms of mechanism and Darwinism and provide an extraordinary new foundation for ecological policies that will allow us to build and sustain communities without diminishing the opportunities for future generations.



Now available in paperback for the first time, The Web of Life is cutting-edge science writing in the tradition of James Gleick's Chaos, Gregory Bateson's Mind and Matter, and Ilya Prigogine's Order Out of Chaos.

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Safety-II in Practice: Developing the Resilience Potentials

Safety-II in Practice: Developing the Resilience Potentials Lowest new price: $31.24
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Author: Erik Hollnagel

Safety-I is defined as the freedom from unacceptable harm. The purpose of traditional safety management is therefore to find ways to ensure this ‘freedom’. But as socio-technical systems steadily have become larger and less tractable, this has become harder to do. Resilience engineering pointed out from the very beginning that resilient performance - an organisation’s ability to function as required under expected and unexpected conditions alike – required more than the prevention of incidents and accidents. This developed into a new interpretation of safety (Safety-II) and consequently a new form of safety management.

Safety-II changes safety management from protective safety and a focus on how things can go wrong, to productive safety and a focus on how things can and do go well. For Safety-II, the aim is not just the elimination of hazards and the prevention of failures and malfunctions but also how best to develop an organisation’s potentials for resilient performance – the way it responds, monitors, learns, and anticipates. That requires models and methods that go beyond the Safety-I toolbox. This book introduces a comprehensive approach for the management of Safety-II, called the Resilience Assessment Grid (RAG). It explains the principles of the RAG and how it can be used to develop the resilience potentials. The RAG provides four sets of diagnostic and formative questions that can be tailored to any organisation. The questions are based on the principles of resilience engineering and backed by practical experience from several domains.

Safety-II in Practice is for both the safety professional and academic reader. For the professional, it presents a workable method (RAG) for the management of Safety-II, with a proven track record. For academic and student readers, the book is a concise and practical presentation of resilience engineering.

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Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos

Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos Lowest new price: $43.98
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Author: J. M. T. Thompson
Brand: J M T Thompson

Nonlinear dynamics and chaos involves the study of apparent random happenings within a system or process. The subject has wide applications within mathematics, engineering, physics and other physical sciences. Since the bestselling first edition was published, there has been a lot of new research conducted in the area of nonlinear dynamics and chaos.
* Expands on the bestselling, highly regarded first edition

* A new chapter which will cover the new research in the area since first edition

* Glossary of terms and a bibliography have been added

* All figures and illustrations will be 'modernised'

* Comprehensive and systematic account of nonlinear dynamics and chaos, still a fast-growing area of applied mathematics

* Highly illustrated

* Excellent introductory text, can be used for an advanced undergraduate/graduate course text

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A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in Business, Life, and Society

A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in Business, Life, and Society Lowest new price: $13.36
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Author: John H. Miller

A top expert explains why a social and economic understanding of complex systems will help society to anticipate and confront our biggest challenges

Imagine trying to understand a stained glass window by breaking it into pieces and examining it one shard at a time. While you could probably learn a lot about each piece, you would have no idea about what the entire picture looks like. This is reductionism--the idea that to understand the world we only need to study its pieces--and it is how most social scientists approach their work.

In A Crude Look at the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller shows why we need to start looking at whole pictures. For one thing, whether we are talking about stock markets, computer networks, or biological organisms, individual parts only make sense when we remember that they are part of larger wholes. And perhaps more importantly, those wholes can take on behaviors that are strikingly different from that of their pieces.
Miller, a leading expert in the computational study of complex adaptive systems, reveals astounding global patterns linking the organization of otherwise radically different structures: It might seem crude, but a beehive's temperature control system can help predict market fluctuations and a mammal's heartbeat can help us understand the "heartbeat" of a city and adapt urban planning accordingly. From enduring racial segregation to sudden stock market disasters, once we start drawing links between complex systems, we can start solving what otherwise might be totally intractable problems.

Thanks to this revolutionary perspective, we can finally transcend the limits of reductionism and discover crucial new ideas. Scientifically founded and beautifully written, A Crude Look at the Whole is a powerful exploration of the challenges that we face as a society. As it reveals, taking the crude look might be the only way to truly see.

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Systems Thinking, Third Edition: Managing Chaos and Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture

Systems Thinking, Third Edition: Managing Chaos and Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture Lowest new price: $32.99
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Author: Jamshid Gharajedaghi
Brand: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers

Systems Thinking, Third Edition combines systems theory and interactive design to provide an operational methodology for defining problems and designing solutions in an environment increasingly characterized by chaos and complexity. This new edition has been updated to include all new chapters on self-organizing systems as well as holistic, operational, and design thinking.

The book covers recent crises in financial systems and job markets, the housing bubble, and environment, assessing their impact on systems thinking. A companion website is available at interactdesign.com.

This volume is ideal for senior executives as well as for chief information/operating officers and other executives charged with systems management and process improvement. It may also be a helpful resource for IT/MBA students and academics.

  • Four NEW chapters on self-organizing systems, holistic thinking, operational thinking, and design thinking
  • Covers the recent crises in financial systems and job markets globally, the housing bubble, and the environment, assessing their impact on systems thinking
  • Companion website to accompany the book is available at interactdesign.com

Features:

  • Morgan Kaufmann Publishers

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The Physics of Wall Street: A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable

The Physics of Wall Street: A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable Lowest new price: $5.00
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Author: James Owen Weatherall
Brand: Mariner Books

“Weatherall probes an epochal shift in financial strategizing with lucidity, explaining how it occurred and what it means for modern finance.”—Peter Galison, author of Einstein’s Clocks, Poincare’s Maps

After the economic meltdown of 2008, many pundits placed the blame on “complex financial instruments” and the physicists and mathematicians who dreamed them up. But how is it that physicists came to drive Wall Street? And were their ideas really the cause of the collapse?
In The Physics of Wall Street, the physicist James Weatherall answers both of these questions. He tells the story of how physicists first moved to finance, bringing science to bear on some of the thorniest problems in economics, from bubbles to options pricing. The problem isn’t simply that economic models have limitations and can break down under certain conditions, but that at the time of the meltdown those models were in the hands of people who either didn’t understand their purpose or didn’t care. It was a catastrophic misuse of science. However, Weatherall argues that the solution is not to give up on the models but to make them better. Both persuasive and accessible, The Physics of Wall Street is riveting history that will change how we think about our economic future.

Q&A with James Owen Weatherall

James Owen Weatherall

Q. What is The Physics of Wall Street all about?

A. Over the past few years, we've heard a lot about a new kind of Wall Street elite known as "quants." These are often physicists and mathematicians who have moved to finance and brought radically new ideas along with them. This book is an attempt to understand these quants and the mathematical models they use to predict market behavior. It's two parts history and one part argument: I tell the surprisingly fun story of how physicists and their ideas made it to Wall Street in the first place, and along the way I argue that this history reveals something important about how we should think about the models and practices they have introduced--especially in light of the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

Q. You say the history is surprisingly fun. Can you give an example?

A. The physicists and mathematicians I write about in the book are (or were) very smart, creative people who put their scientific training to use in surprising new ways. Their stories are fascinating. For instance, Edward Thorp, who invented the modern quantitative hedge fund, was also the first person to prove that card counting could be used to reliably get an edge in blackjack. He spent a good amount of time working the card tables in Las Vegas. And Norman Packard and Doyne Farmer, who started a pioneering financial services firm in the early 1990s, spent their graduate school years at UC Santa Cruz inventing the new science of chaos theory while trying to build a computer to beat the odds in roulette--the profits from which were intended to start a yippie commune in the Pacific Northwest.

Q. What surprised you most about the history you uncovered?

A. One thing that surprised me was that derivatives contracts such as options, futures, and swaps, which are often discussed as though they were a troubling new innovation, have actually been around for thousands of years. For example, scientists have found cuneiform tablets containing records of futures traded by ancient Sumerians. Even the idea of using mathematical methods to price options is quite old. I pick up the story in 1900, with the visionary work of a French physicist named Louis Bachelier, but some strands go back further, to the mid-nineteenth century. Plus, there are some striking historical connections in the book. For instance, I explain the relationship between the invention of nylon and the development of the atomic bomb--and how both influenced at least one physicist's to switch to a financial career. And I tell the story of how the space race and the Vietnam War were partly responsible for many physicists moving to Wall Street banks in the 1980s.

Q. What can this history teach us about models used in finance?

A. If you look at how the physicists and mathematicians who came up with the earliest financial models thought about what they were doing, the role of simplifying assumptions and idealizations becomes very clear. The goal was to get a toehold on some very hard problems, and not to come up with a final, overarching theory of financial markets. Making simplified assumptions can lead to the solution of a problem that you otherwise couldn’t solve--but that solution is only going to be a reliable guide to how the world works when the assumptions you’ve made are approximately true. The important question, and the one that physicists are always trained to ask, is when do your assumptions fail and what happens when they do? I don’t think the importance of this question has been recognized as widely as it should be among the traders who rely on these models.

Q. At the end of the book, you describe an "Economic Manhattan Project." What would that be like?

A. The Economic Manhattan Project was proposed in 2008 by the mathematical physicist and hedge fund manager Eric Weinstein. The idea is that economic and financial security--that is, regulating the economy to avoid future calamities--should be at the very top of our agenda. Yet the resources we devote to physical security, to military technology and defense, far outstrip what we spend on developing better economic theories. In the past, America has set goals--for the original Manhattan Project, the race to the moon, and others--when we have funneled resources into serious innovation. And whenever we have done so, we have succeeded in accomplishing great things. I think it is time to make a similar kind of commitment to developing the next generation of economic models, with the goal of finding radical new ideas to make the economy safer and more robust.

Q. You're a philosophy professor. Why did you write a book about finance?

A. The short answer is simply that I find the history and the ideas fascinating. I have a Ph.D. in physics and I like thinking about how physics can be applied to novel problems. The longer answer is that the issues in this book aren't so far removed from philosophy. Philosophers spend a lot of time thinking about what we can know about the world and how to deal with fundamental uncertainty. Philosophy has a reputation for being abstract and distant from everyday concerns. And sometimes it is. But when it comes to mathematical models, philosophical issues really matter for how we make important economic and financial decisions--decisions that have significant real-world ramifications. And for me, at least, the most interesting and important philosophical questions are those that we face as practicing scientists and policymakers--and even as investors.

Features:

  • Mariner Books

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Simply Complexity: A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory

Simply Complexity: A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory Lowest new price: $10.60
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Author: Neil Johnson
Brand: Johnson, Neil F.

What do traffic jams, stock market crashes, and wars have in common? They are all explained using complexity, an unsolved puzzle that many researchers believe is the key to predicting – and ultimately solving—everything from terrorist attacks and pandemic viruses right down to rush hour traffic congestion.

Complexity is considered by many to be the single most important scientific development since general relativity and it promises to make sense of no less than the very heart of the Universe. Using it, scientists can find order emerging from seemingly random interactions of all kinds, from something as simple as flipping coins through to more challenging problems such as the patterns in modern jazz, the growth of cancer tumours, and predicting shopping habits.

Features:

  • ONEWorld Publications

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Emergent Properties in Natural and Artificial Dynamical Systems (Understanding Complex Systems)

Emergent Properties in Natural and Artificial Dynamical Systems (Understanding Complex Systems) Lowest new price: $56.99
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Brand: Brand: Springer

An important part of the science of complexity is the study of emergent properties arising through dynamical processes, in various natural and artificial systems. This book presents multidisciplinary approaches for creating and modeling representations of complex systems, and a variety of methods for extracting emergent structures. Offering bio-complexity examples, the coverage extends to self organization, synchronization, stability and robustness. The contributors include researchers in physics, engineering, biology and chemistry.

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  • Used Book in Good Condition


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