By Paul Fieguth
This undergraduate textual content explores a number of large-scale phenomena - international warming, ice a long time, water, poverty - and makes use of those case experiences as a motivation to discover nonlinear dynamics, power-law records, and complicated platforms. even though the particular mathematical descriptions of those issues should be demanding, the implications of a procedure being nonlinear, power-law, or advanced are in reality fairly obtainable. This booklet blends an educational method of the mathematical facets of complicated platforms including a complementary narrative at the global/ecological/societal implications of such systems.
Nearly all engineering undergraduate classes specialize in arithmetic and platforms that are small scale, linear, and Gaussian. regrettably there's not a unmarried large-scale ecological or social phenomenon that's scalar, linear, and Gaussian. This publication deals scholars insights to raised comprehend the large-scale difficulties dealing with the realm and to achieve that those can't be solved by way of a unmarried, slim educational box or point of view.
Instead, the booklet seeks to stress realizing, ideas, and ideas, in a fashion that's mathematically rigorous, in order that the thoughts don't feel obscure, yet no longer so technical that the maths get within the manner. The publication is meant for undergraduate scholars in a technical area equivalent to engineering, computing device technology, physics, arithmetic, and environmental studies.
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Additional resources for An Introduction to Complex Systems: Society, Ecology, and Nonlinear Dynamics
K. Stowe. An Introduction to Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. Cambridge, 2007. 17. J. Tainter. The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge, 1990. 18. M. Wackernagel and W. Rees. Our Ecological Footprint. New Society, 1995. 19. J. Weaver. Root Development of Field Crops. McGraw Hill, 1926. 20. R. Wright. A Short History of Progress. House of Anansi Press, 2004. Chapter 4 Dynamic Systems Consider nearly any major ecological or social phenomenon: • • • • Human driven climate change Fisheries collapse on the Grand Banks of the Atlantic ocean Perpetuated financial inequalities Periods of drought or flood, for example driven by El Niño All of these are inherently temporal phenomena: a thing was once one way, and now it is different.
If you’re interested, the book by Salatin  is quite inspiring, and the book by Weaver  from a century ago has beautiful drawings of underground root systems. 1: Short Questions Provide a brief explanation for each of the following: (a) Why are there no truly linear systems in the natural world? (b) Why are coal and nuclear power plants designed to run at a relatively high temperature? (c) How does the second law of thermodynamics relate to systems theory: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Define “entropy” Why is it possible for entropy to decrease in open systems?
The classic texts are the large and thorough works of Tainter  and Diamond . 3 Systems of Systems 35 Homer-Dixon . The extreme perspective of the technological singularity had quite balanced coverage in an IEEE Spectrum issue . • Soil and Nutrients: A little outside the scope of this book, but a bit of a passion of mine. If you’re interested, the book by Salatin  is quite inspiring, and the book by Weaver  from a century ago has beautiful drawings of underground root systems.