Complexity and Chaos - State-of-the-art; Overview of Theoretical Concepts


  1. Couture, M.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Valcartier, Valcartier QUE (CAN)
Theoretical concepts used in the field of complexity theory are presented. Proposed definitions include the essential elements gleaned from the scientific literature. Key terms such as system, complex system and complex adaptive system and other preliminary notions for the study of complexity are first defined and described. Four classification criteria distilled from an extensive literature review (Couture, 2006a) are then described and used to classify and structure concepts, properties, mechanisms and emerging phenomena. The criteria incorporate concepts that are essential for the study of the above systems. For instance, they employ the concepts of level and interrelationships between levels, thus enabling researchers to describe level-dependent complex manifestations such as emergence. The criteria defined are then used in a review of complexity theory in the hope that the structured descriptions of the criteria will aid in elucidating the elements of this theory. Finally, this document shows that complexity theory is in fact a rich set of interrelated theoretical concepts that already help us understand the increasingly complexity of our world. These concepts may also be used as guides to design specific properties or characteristics into information, communication and C2 systems to make them more efficient and effective in complex military operations.

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Report Number
DRDC-VALCARTIER-TM-2006-453 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Aug 2007
Number of Pages

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