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Self-organized interlocking complexity in biology and economics

Professor Loren Haarsma, Calvin College
Tuesday, February 28, 3:45pm, Science Building 110

Mechanical devices such as clocks display interlocking complexity – remove one part and the whole thing might stop functioning. Clocks must be assembled "by hand," but in some systems interlocking complexity can self-organize. The modern industrial economy is one example; the interdependence of modern industries evolved slowly over decades. There are many examples of self-organized complexity in the physical and biological sciences as well. We'll present two computer models that we've developed. One is an "economic" model in which agents gather resources to meet needs and wants, specialize, trade with each other, and combine resources to make tools and higher order devices. Agents becomes wealthier and more interdependent over time. The second is a "biological" model in which digital organisms gradually evolve interlocking complexity through mutation and natural selection.





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