"The economy is not an engine, it's an ecosystem. And machines don't grow, ecosystems do. Economic policy should not be about 'fine-tuning' our economic machine or, even worse, dividing up slices of a fixed economic pie. Rather, it should be about cultivating growth. If capitalism is a jungle, socialism is a zoo."
Michael Rothschild of The Bionomics Institute argues in his book, Bionomics : Economy As Ecosystem (College Board April 1995 ISBN: 0805019790), that we must move beyond industrial age language (and thinking) for societies, economies, and organizations. When we speak of pumping up, cooling down, or putting the brakes on an economy, or reengineering or modeling an organization, we're thinking of them as machines. Machines are things that we can step away from and analyze/manipulate as if we were not an integral part.
Thinking of them as evolutionary/biological systems might remind us that cultures, economies and institutions influence and control us just as much as we hope to influence and control them. Better yet, it might trigger the same skepticsm that we apply to those who'd massively intervene in rain forests and oceans. I buy it. He's right.
Nanotechnology takes the opposite approach, seeking order through the centrally-planned design of an external, all-mighty engineer, the Nerd. Bionomics pursues it through spontaneous, self-organizing, fully distributed processes; through evolution as distinct from design.
Also see Nanotechnology Wired Brain Tennis Debate with Ed Regis, author of "Nano: The Emerging Science of Nanotechnology".
Bionomics Institute nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to replacing the traditional, mechanistic view of the economy with economy-as-ecosystem thinking. | Visual Map | Statement of Purpose | What is Bionomics? | Discussion Groups | Links | What's New @bionomics.org Conference '96 Preview (4/2/96) Resources -- Topic Index to Bionomics articles! (3/22/96) About the Institute The people and mission of the Institute. Resources Articles, publications, and the reading list of The Bionomics Institute. Bionomics: The Book Why did The Wall Street Journal call it "Revolutionary?" Event Archives Been there done that -- annual conferences, etc. Stuff for Sale Purchase Bionomics, conference tapes, and more. Community You may never know what to find here. For the Bionomics crowd.
International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN) - How to join the ISHN - Officers - 1997 Annual Meeting (Leiden, The Netherlands) Preliminary Program - 1998 Annual Meeting (Annapolois, Maryland, USA) Announcement - "Journal of the History of the Neurosciences" link - "HISTNEUR-L: The History of Neuroscience Internet Forum" link - list of services and/or links which are coming soon, including a Guide to Internet Resources for Neuroscience History
The Krasnow Institute is the GMU department closest this topic.
Santa Fe Institute The Santa Fe Institute is a private, independent, multidisciplinary research and education center, founded in 1984. Since its founding SFI has devoted itself to creating a new kind of scientific research community, pursuing emerging syntheses in science. Operating as a small, visiting institution, SFI seeks to catalyze new collaborative, multidisciplinary research, to break down the barriers between the traditional disciplines, to spread its ideas and methodologies to other institutions, and to encourage the practical appliations of its results. Also see Swarm, a general purpose simulation developed in Objective-C by Chris Langston's group.
Command and (Out of) Control: The Military Implications of Complexity Theory John F. Schmitt U.S. Marine Corps.
Catalog of Information about Evolution Enter Evolution: Theory and History The theory of evolution, formalized by Charles Darwin, is as much theory as is the theory of gravity, or the theory of relativity. Unlike theories of physics, biological theories, and especially evolution, have been argued long and hard in socio-political arenas. Even today, evolution is not often taught in primary schools. However, evolution is the binding force of all biological research. It is the unifying theme. In paleontology, evolution gives workers a powerful way to organize the remains of past life and better understand the one history of life. The history of thought about evolution in general and paleontological contributions specifically are often useful to the workers of today. Science, like any iterative process, draws heavily from its history.
Illinois Genetic Algorithms Laboratory At the Illinois Genetic Algorithms Laboratory (IlliGAL), we study the fundamental problem solving approach of nature: evolution. Genetic algorithms (GAs) are search procedures based on the mechanics of natural selection and natural genetics. The GA was developed by John H. Holland in the 1960s to allow computers to evolve solutions to difficult problems, such as function optimization and artificial intelligence. The basic operation of a GA is conceptually simple: (1) maintain a population of solutions to a problem, (2) select the better solutions for recombination with each other, and (3) use their offspring to replace poorer solutions. The combination of selection pressure and innovation (through crossover and mutation) generally leads to improved solutions, often the best found to date by any method.
Genetic Algorithm Bibliographies Our ftp site (ftp.uwasa.fi) includes directory cs/report94-1, which contains over 20 Indexed Bibliographies of GAs in different application areas. The files are compressed PostScript. See README file in the directory for further information. There are both GP and economics bibliographies.
Smart Business Supersite is The How-To Resource For Business (http://www.smartbiz.com) Specifically geared to help business executives and managers be more productive, solve virtually any business or management problem and run their businesses, departments or operations smarter. Thousands of free resources in 63 categories.
Can Neurobiology Teach us Anything about Consciousness? by Patricia Smith Churchland University of California, San Diego Salk Institute Based on Presidential Address to the American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, March, 1993, published in Proceedings and Adresses of the APA
The Geodesic Network, OpenDoc and Cyberdogby Bob Hettings Almost a decade ago, now, in one of my more entrepreneurial moments, I read Peter Huber's 1986 "The Geodesic Network", the US Government Printing Office version of his report to Judge Green, the judge who broke up the Bell System, on the status of the breakup and what Huber thought the next steps should be.
Trader Networks by Deborah V Duong The purpose of this project is to create a "primordial soup" with only a few fixed parameters from which economic behavior may emerge. Agents learn what to produce, who to trade with, what to trade and how much all at the same time. Knowledge of any of these enables knowledge of the others, so that division of labor, money, social networks of trade, ideal types, prices and production efforts all push each other in positive feedback, just as the first life self-organized.
Swarm by Chris Langston Santa Fe Institute to provide a general purpose alife simulation in Objective-C.
Suggested by Dr. Randall Whitaker ; Logicon / Armstrong Laboratory; Wright-Patterson AFB OH The Observer Web (the largest Internet nexus on the subject) and Self-Organization, Autopoiesis, and Enterprises (tutorial / essay on autopoietic theory and organizations)
Autopoiesis by Bill Warriner The term "Autopoiesis" was coined by Humberto Maturana in about 1960. Maturana and Francisco Varela use the term to refer to the fundamental process of living systems. Autopoiesis is essentially the mechanism by which living systems continually produce themselves as autonomous unities.
A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE MIND Part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 Piero Scaruffi Draft of February 1996 Synopsis. This document provides a guided bibliography to literature published (mainly, but not exclusively, over the last two decades) on the subject of the mind. The exponentially growing interest on the mind, consciousness and life is altering the course of many discip- lines and opening new fascinating horizons for science. Subjects created by this trend include Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Life, Neural Networks, Cognitive Science and Complex Systems. Books reviewed in this bibliography span Philosophy, Psychology, Biol- ogy, Computer Science, Neurophysiology, Mathematics and even Cosmol- ogy. The first part is an alphabetical list of books with a short review of their contents. The reader can use it to decide which books to buy for futher information, or just "cut and paste" the information for her or his personal research. In a sense this document provides the researcher or the merely curious with the "tools" to work out her or his own theory of the mind. At the same it provides everybody with an updated survey of one of the most exciting fields of today's science. Proceedings of conferences have been generally omitted, but collection of historic articles are included. Books that have been made obsolete by new editions or new books by the same author are generally omitted. The second part of this document is a list of recommended reading organized by topic (in progress). I have hundreds more of reviews written in italian, that I still have to translate into english. If you're interested in knowing about a book that is not listed here, you may want to try to ask me directly: maybe I do have the review, but it is still in italian. This whole document is still in progress. There are plans to introduce links between books that cover similar subjects or that cross- reference each other. And many other ideas. Piero Scaruffi email@example.com
Conway's Game of Life This directory contains a large collection of implementations of Conway's Game of Life for Unix, IBM PC, Amiga, and other systems. Cellular Automata, of which Life is an example, were suggested by Stanislaw Ulam in the 1940s, and first formalized by von Neumann. Conway's "Game of Life" was popularized in Martin Gardner's mathematical games column in the October 1970 and February 1971 issues of Scientific American. (Shorter notes on life are also given in the column in each month from October 1970 to April 1971, and well as November 1971, January 1972, and December 1972.) There's also quite a bit on the game in "The Recursive Universe", by William Poundstone, Oxford University Press, 1987, 252 pages. The rules for the game of life are quite simple. The game board is a rectangular cell array, with each cell either empty or filled. At each tick of the clock, we generate the next generation by the following rules: if a cell is empty, fill it if 3 of its neighbors are filled (otherwise leave it empty) if a cell is filled, it dies of loneliness if it has 1 or fewer neighbors continues to live if it has 2 or 3 neighbors dies of overcrowding if it has more than 3 neighbors Neighbors include the cells on the diagonals. Some implementations use a torus-based array (edges joined top-to-bottom and left-to-right) for computing neighbors. For example, a row of 3 filled cells will become a column of 3 filled cells in the next generation. The R pentomino is an interesting pattern: xx xx x Try it with other patterns of 5 cells initially occupied. If you record the ages of cells, and map the ages to colors, you can get a variety of beautiful images. When implementing Life, be sure to maintain separate arrays for the old and new generation. Updating the array in place will not work correctly. Another optimization to to maintain a list of the cells that changed. Conway has demonstrated that it is possible to construct the basic building blocks of a computer from Life using modified glider guns. See the last chapter of Elwyn R. Berlekamp, John H. Conway, and Richard K. Guy, "Winning Ways", Academic Press, New York, 1982, ISBN 0-120911-507. for details.
Comments on "Complexity and the Future of Science" by James P. Crutchfield A week or so ago Melanie Mitchell posted a copy of her essay "Complexity and the Future of Science", an Op-Ed piece that was solicited by and will appear in Scientific American (SciAm). The posting was sent to this mailing list --- firstname.lastname@example.org, which comprises over 400 SFI-affiliated scientists and other institute associates. Due to the wide initial public distribution and the eventual national exposure, it seems natural to air several concerns I have about Melanie's essay in this same electronic forum.
Selection Theory Bibliography by Gary Cziko and Donald T. Campbell
Karl Popper Web by Ray Scott Percival
People Versus Atoms Since population grows exponentially, even a constant rate of growth produces ever larger additions to the expanding base. World population, which took until about 1800 to reach 1 billion, is reliably projected to exceed 6 billion by 1998.
ALife IV Conference Report by Hugo de Garis The 4th Artificial Life conference was held at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, July 6th to 8th, 1994, organised by Rod Brooks and Pattie Maes.
Evolutionary/Geological Timeline Version 1.0 by Niel Brandt This is a copy of an evolutionary/geological timeline that I have been making. I would be grateful for factual, spelling, and grammar corrections. I would be grateful for suggestions as to how to better word specific entries so as to make them clearer. I am also keen to add interesting events to the timeline and would appreciate suggestions.
talk.origins Discussions about evolution (and creationism!)
Web archive Arguments in the evolution-creation debate, and including an especially rich set of FAQs
bionet.molbio.evolution molecular biological methods for studying evolution
The talk.origins Interactive FAQ Server Evolution FAQs The following files deal specifically with the topic of evolutionary biology.
FAQ's on Genetic Algorithms Especially the talk.origins archive seems very rich in material. I would be very interested in getting further references myself.
Complexity by David Burns