BookshelfJacob deGroot-Maggetti

Complexity: A Guided Tour – Melanie Mitchell

Thoughts: Lots of good stuff in this one - somewhat technical at times, but packed with useful concepts and illustrative examples. There were several passages, including chapter 13 and all of Part Two, which, while interesting, seemed a bit disconnected from the rest of the book. I came away from this book with a fuller picture of complexity theory, as well as a handful of ideas for small projects to code up and tinker with.

(The notes below are not a summary of the book, but rather raw notes - whatever I thought, at the time, might be worth remembering.)

Mitchell, Melanie. 2009. Complexity: A Guided Tour. Oxford UP.

Part One: Background and History

Chapter One: What is Complexity

Chapter Two: Dynamics, Chaos and Prediction

Chapter Three: Information

Chapter Four: Computation

Chapter Five: Evolution

Chapter Six: Genetics, Simplified

Chapter Seven: Defining and Measuring Complexity

Part Two: Life and Evolution in Computers

Chapter Eight: Self-Reproducing Computer Programs

Chapter Nine: Genetic Algorithms

Part Three: Computation Writ Large

Chapter Ten: Cellular Automata, Life, and the Universe

Chapter Eleven: Computing with Particles

Chapter Twelve: Information Processing in Living Systems

Chapter Thirteen: How to Make Analogies (if You Are a Computer)

Chapter Fourteen: Prospects of Computer Modelling

Part Four: Network Thinking

Chapter Fifteen: The Science of Networks

Chapter Sixteen: Applying Network Science to Real-World Networks

Chapter Seventeen: The Mystery of Scaling

Chapter Eighteen: Evolution, Complexified

Part Five: Conclusion

Chapter Nineteen: The Past and Future of the Sciences of Complexity

Posted: Aug 30, 2021. Last updated: Aug 31, 2023.