Emergence and power law distribution?

For discussions of the Open University's T214 Systems course.

Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby jim_lewis1 on Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:03 am

One emergent property of the system known as a human being is height.

Height distriubution follows a 'normal', gaussian distribution, (bell curve).

The fact that it does, doesn't explain the emergent property of height, any more than the fact that the property 'income' follows a power law distribution, (at a guess).
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby llamagirl on Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:44 am

What about self organising systems, is that anything to do with emergence?
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby Teiana on Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:50 am

i think so, yes.. i think self-organization is an emergent property. But not all emergent properties are related to self-organization.
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby llamagirl on Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:08 am

So,if a system shows power law distribution, this could be an indication of a self-organising system, this may be another way to look at any emergent properties of a system. The example I used in my TMA was PPOs in the criminal justice system, if I identify re-offending as an emergent property and unintended consequence, I could look at feedback processes to help understand the situation, but if I wanted to look at it in another way, how could I use the idea of self organising system to add to my understanding?
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby jim_lewis1 on Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:32 am

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be talking about systems as though they already exist and therefore have properties everyone can identify, and emergent properties that result from these.

Don't forget that YOU define the system, YOU identify emergent properties. How useful this is to you depends on what you are trying to find out.

You might have identified something you believe to be an emergent property of a system you have defined, and it might adhere to some power law distribution.

How much that tells you about the system is unknown. The fact that a power law distribuition can be seen in what you're looking at might just be coincidence or an artefact of the way you have defined your system and its attributes, OR it might give you useful insight into the character of that system.
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby eb593 on Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:47 am

Hi, I've just started T214 and found the bits of this thread I understood, to be really interesting. I look forward to understanding more of it soon.

Thanks.

Elaine.
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby Neill on Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:45 pm

Elaine,
feel free to ask. Explaining it is good revision for those of us who have forgotten - like your power law question.
Neill
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