Simple Complexity

This is a place for me to collect my research and ideas about complex dynamical systems.  I’ve been studying and researching various types and aspects of these for over 15 years. I learned what a dynamical system is by simulating a tethered-satellite system with my MSEE advisor, Tom Denney, at Auburn.

As an engineering student, I had always thought that several areas of “study” were a complete waste of time: philosophy (despite really enjoying my Intro to Ethics class), and the “soft sciences” of biology and psychology.  I have been amply repaid for my ignorant arrogance, with several (so far) unsuccessful years of research in neuroscience at Georgia Tech and Emory, where I have found some very interesting and important questions at the intersection of biology, psychology, philosophy, and computer science.

My interests are mostly concerned with the human mind, though it’s such a fantastically complex system (more specifics in a later post) that it’s helpful to look at other systems.   Most of these systems are simpler, though there are also many useful examples in human social organizations.

In the next post I’ll outline the complexity of the human brain, after that we’ll look at some common organizational principles, principles that are not just a useful way to analyze complex systems, but are actually basic organizational principles for them.

I’m also planning on discussing other things of personal interest that may seem only tangentially related, but I plan on avoiding politics as much as possible. And despite the jargon I’m throwing around in this introduction, I strongly believe that you don’t understand something until you can explain it to an intelligent non-specialist, so I’m going to be speaking clear English.

I plan on reviewing the works of many people discussing complex systems, including Douglas Hofstadter (Gödel, Escher, Bach, among others), Jeff Hawkins’ On Intelligence, and works about hierarchically organized systems, such as Hierarchy Theory, edited by Howard Pattee.

Brain MRI

Magnetic Resonance structural image of a human brain, sagittal slice

Leave a Reply