Introduction to Complexity and Complex Systems

Robert B. Northrop

December 8, 2010 by CRC Press
Reference - 551 Pages - 133 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781439839010 - CAT# K11775


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  • Describes the characteristics of certain complex living systems
  • Provides dynamic models for various complex systems
  • Offers present-day examples for dealing with complex systems
  • Includes homework problems for better comprehension


The boundaries between simple and complicated, and complicated and complex system designations are fuzzy and debatable, even using quantitative measures of complexity. However, if you are a biomedical engineer, a biologist, physiologist, economist, politician, stock market speculator, or politician, you have encountered complex systems. Furthermore, your success depends on your ability to successfully interact with and manage a variety of complex systems. In order not to be blindsided by unexpected results, we need a systematic, comprehensive way of analyzing, modeling, and simulating complex systems to predict non-anticipated outcomes.

In its engaging first chapters, the book introduces complex systems, Campbell's Law, and the Law of Unintended Consequences, and mathematics necessary for conversations in complex systems. Subsequent chapters illustrate concepts via commonly studied biological mechanisms. The final chapters focus on higher-level complexity problems, and introduce complexity in economic systems.

Designed as a reference for biologists and biological engineers, Introduction to Complexity and Complex Systems lends itself to use in a classroom course to introduce advanced students studying biomedical engineering, biophysics, or physiology to complex systems. Engaging and illustrative, this book aids scientists and decision makers in managing biological complexity and complex systems.

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