Education at all levels is facing several challenges in most countries [1-4], such as low quality, high costs, lack of educators, and unsatisfied student demand. Traditional approaches are becoming unable to deliver the required education. Several causes for this inefficiency can be identified. I argue that beyond specific causes, the lack of effective education is related to complexity [5, 6]. However, information technology is helping us overcome this complexity.
Complexity can be measured with information theory and can be seen as the balance between stability and variability [7-10]: phenomena without change or with constant change cannot exhibit complex behavior. It has been noted that to actively control a complex system, the controller has to be at least as complex as the controlled [11, 12]. For example, a successful healthcare provider has to match the complexity of the patients she attends. Treatment is highly specific for different patients, so a general practitioner must have a high complexity to attend patients with diverse conditions. Concerning most preventive services, these are similar for most patients, and thus, can be delivered efficiently by providers with a lower complexity . A similar approach can be used to study education and its complexity: a successful educational system has to match the complexity of its students.
Gershenson, C. (2014). Harnessing the complexity of education with information technology. Complexity, In Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cplx.21536
Note: If you do not have access to the full text, e-mail me and I'll send the pdf. Also, you can find the preprint at http://arxiv.org/abs/1402.2827
We apply measures of complexity, emergence, and self-organization to an urban traffic model for comparing a traditional traffic-light coordination method with a self-organizing method in two scenarios: cyclic boundaries and non-orientable boundaries. We show that the measures are useful to identify and characterize different dynamical phases. It becomes clear that different operation regimes are required for different traffic demands. Thus, not only is traffic a non-stationary problem, requiring controllers to adapt constantly; controllers must also change drastically the complexity of their behavior depending on the demand. Based on our measures and extending Ashby’s law of requisite variety, we can say that the self-organizing method achieves an adaptability level comparable to that of a living system.
Zubillaga, Darío; Cruz, Geovany; Aguilar, Luis D.; Zapotécatl, Jorge; Fernández, Nelson; Aguilar, José; Rosenblueth, David A.; Gershenson, Carlos. 2014. "Measuring the Complexity of Self-Organizing Traffic Lights." Entropy 16, no. 5: 2384-2407.
Full text (open access) at http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/16/5/2384
Aphorisms collection at http://turing.iimas.unam.mx/~cgg/aforismos.html
“Reality: always one step ahead of my most imaginative sarcasms”
“The more I travel, the more borders become artificial”
*“In science, there are no finished problems, only narrow-minded scientists”
“The fact that it has always been that way does not mean that it cannot change”
“Since I am finite, I tend to be biased towards speaking only about those things which I have experience with.”
“If I say: "I might be wrong", I cannot be wrong”
*“If you do not have the right perspective to see the rainbow, it does not imply that the rainbow is not there.”
*“One can warmonger interpreting a religious or a scientific text.
One can peacemonger interpreting a religious or a scientific text.
What is more important: the text or the purpose of the interpretation?”
“It is difficult to gain new knowledge without first questioning current knowledge”
“Remember that you are always setting an example. Do things as you want things to be.”
*“Context is everything”
“New ideas solve old problems and generate new ones.”
“The most comfortable role in life is that of a victim”
“Rules are efficient if they do not need enforcement. That occurs when people clearly benefit from following them.”
“Check what you can, but this does not imply that you should reject what you cannot.”
“There shouldn't be so much discussion about abortion being legal or not, the aim should be to prevent the circumstances that lead to abortions, i.e. undesired pregnancies.”
“Reason is a subset of feeling”
“The only worthwhile competition is against yourself”
*“You are not one more. You are every one.”
“If two computations occur at the same time in different parts of the universe, was information transmitted?”
We compared entropy for texts written in natural languages (English, Spanish) and artificial languages (computer software) based on a simple expression for the entropy as a function of message length and specific word diversity. Code text written in artificial languages showed higher entropy than text of similar length expressed in natural languages. Spanish texts exhibit more symbolic diversity than English ones. Results showed that algorithms based on complexity measures differentiate artificial from natural languages, and that text analysis based on complexity measures allows the unveiling of important aspects of their nature. We propose specific expressions to examine entropy related aspects of tests and estimate the values of entropy, emergence, self-organization, and complexity based on specific diversity and message length.
Complexity measurement of natural and artificial languages
Gerardo Febres, Klaus Jaffé and Carlos Gershenson
Complexity, Early View
Upshot: The limitations of materialism for studying cognition have motivated alternative epistemologies based on information and computation. I argue that these alternatives are also inherently limited and that these limits can only be overcome by considering materialism, info-computationalism, and cognition at the same time.
Open peer commentary on the article “Info-computational Constructivism and Cognition” by Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic.
Gershenson C. (2014) Info-computationalism or Materialism? Neither and Both. Constructivist Foundations 9(2): 241–242. Available at http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/9/2/241.gershenson
The 16th International Congress of Systems and Cybernetics WOSC2014 will take place on October 15-17 a the University of Ibagué, Colombia.
One of the congress themes is Design and Control of Self-organising Systems
Many real-world problems are non-stationary and highly complex. That is, they are changing constantly and interacting, generating novel information that limits prediction. If the change is faster than our ability to optimize our solutions, then these will be obsolete. As an alternative, we have designed adaptive systems, in many cases inspired in biology. One approach for designing adaptive systems has been proposed with the use of self-organization: instead of trying to optimize a problem, the aim is to design components of a system that by local interactions actively search for their best configuration. When designed properly, self-organizing systems can adapt to extremely dynamic and complex problems at the same scales at which changes occur. As our systems become more dynamic and complex, designing them using self-organization offers greater benefits compared with traditional approaches.
Calls for abstract submissions are open until March 31st 2014.
Submitters will be notified of acceptance or rejection no later than April 30th.
You need to submit an extended abstract:
• That clearly attempts to discuss aspects of “our self-organising world: from disruption to reparation” from a systemic perspective and supported by cybernetic approaches.
• You are requested to use our template (http://wosc-congress.unibague.edu.co/images/template_for_abstracts.doc) to submit the abstract.
• The length of the text body of these submissions should be about 1000 words (2 A4 pages).
• Authors of the extended abstracts should add their bios in “About the Authors” of the template. The bio of each author shall be about a 100 words.
• Extended abstracts should be submitted via Make Submission in http://wosc-congress.unibague.edu.co/
• Authors with accepted abstracts, in order to be considered for publication in a journal are expected to submit a full paper of about 5000 words by September 30th.
//Please forward to whom may be interested.
Education at all levels is facing several challenges in most countries, such as low quality, high costs, lack of educators, and unsatisfied student demand. Traditional approaches are becoming unable to deliver the required education. Several causes for this inefficiency can be identified. I argue that beyond specific causes, the lack of effective education is related to complexity. However, information technology is helping us overcome this complexity.
We apply measures of complexity, emergence and self-organization to an abstract city traffic model for comparing a traditional traffic coordination method with a self-organizing method in two scenarios: cyclic boundaries and non-orientable boundaries. We show that the measures are useful to identify and characterize different dynamical phases. It becomes clear that different operation regimes are required for different traffic demands. Thus, not only traffic is a non-stationary problem, which requires controllers to adapt constantly. Controllers must also change drastically the complexity of their behavior depending on the demand. Based on our measures, we can say that the self-organizing method achieves an adaptability level comparable to a living system.
Measuring the Complexity of Self-organizing Traffic Lights
Dario Zubillaga, Geovany Cruz, Luis Daniel Aguilar, Jorge Zapotecatl, Nelson Fernandez, Jose Aguilar, David A. Rosenblueth, Carlos Gershenson