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Emergent Systems: A Discussion

Schedule and Discussion Links
On Line Forum for continuing discussion

During fall 2004, we are meeting every Thursday morning at 8 a.m. in Park 230, the Emergent Intelligence Laboratory. Coffee and muffins start the meeting off, followed by a presentation and discussion. Open to all.

People in a variety of disciplines and walks of life are in the business of trying to make sense of the world. In so doing, all make use of conceptual frameworks, habitual ways of thinking that influence both how one tries to make sense of new observations and the new questions one asks (and doesn't ask). These conceptual frameworks are themselves reflections of the kinds of observations that have and can be made.

Computers, like telescopes and microscopes, have opened a whole new world of possible observations. Because of the rapidity with which they can do well-defined calculations, computers have made it possible to explore the consequences of relatively simple interactions of relatively simple things in ways never before possible (try, for example, the Game of Life or Simple Networks, Simple Rules).

From this new capability are emerging in different arenas significant insights into phenomena long believed too complex for serious analysis ... and perhaps a new quite general conceptual framework applicable in a variety of disciplines and practical contexts. People who are interested the emergence of "emergent systems" as a way of thinking are invited to join this discussion by contacting Ted Wong, Doug Blank, or Paul Grobstein.

emergent.brynmawr.edu/eprg/ - a collaborative, interactive hypertext discussion of emergent systems

Complex Systems on Serendip - additional resources

"If you knew the algorithm and fed it back say ten thousand times, each time there's be a dot somewhere on the screen. You'd never know where to expect the next dot. But gradually you'd start to see this shape, because every dot will be inside the shape of this leaf. ... The unpredictable and the predetermined unfold together to make everything the way it is. It's how nature creates itself, on every scale, the snowflake and the snowstorm." Tom Stoppard, Arcadia, 1993.

Schedule and Discussion Links

September 9, 2003

Organizational Meeting

September 16 Paul Grobstein, on Buchanan's ''Nexus''  
September 23 Tim Burke, on Emergence in Humanities  
September 30 Tim Burke, continued  
October 7 Jim Marshall, on Metacat, a model of human analogy-making  
October 14 Fall Break!  
October 21 Jan Trembley, on Emergent Pedagogy  
October 28 Ted Wong, on Modules in Genetic Networks  
November 4 Mark Kuperberg, on Emergence in Economics  
November 11 Anne Dalke, on Trees and Rhizomes
November 18 Deepak Kumar, on Emergence and Problem Solving: Reflections from a Computer Science Perspective  
December 2 Alan Baker, on The Emergence of Everything (PPT, 338KB)  
January 22 Essays on Emergence, a modest proposal
January 29 Paul Grobstein, on From the Active Inanimate to Models to Stories to Agency
February 5 Paul Grobstein, continued
February 12 Ted Wong, Why Evolution By Natural Selection Isn't Emergent
February 19 Jim Wright
February 26 Tim Burke, Emergence: What It's Good For (Maybe)
March 4 Tim Burke, continued
March 18 Jim Marshall, on Sparse Distributed Memory
March 25 Jim Marshall, continued
April 1 Anne Dalke, Emergent Meaning/Emergent Literature/Emergent Pedagogy

April 8

Ted Wong, Where Are We?
April 15 Mark Kuperberg, What Is Emergence?
April 22 Al Albano, Boltzmann, Shannon, Information ... and black holes??
April 29 Doug Blank
What would motivate a robot to go from the Active Inanimate to Story Teller?
May 6 Doug Blank, continued
May 20 Christopher Prince, University of Minnesota Duluth Computer Science
Synchrony Detection as a Basis for Infant Behavior in Robots
May 27 Karen Greif
Building a Real Neural Network
June 3 Lisa Meeden
On-Line Self-Regulating Robot Development
June 10 Bruce Maxwell and Tim Burke
How can we use agent-based modeling to analyze history?
June 17 Doug Blank and Ted Wong
Discussion of a Book About Emergence: How Can the Medium Be the Message?

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