Emergence and power law distribution?

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

Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby llamagirl on Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:09 am

Can power law distribution be used to explain emergent properties?
In a normal distribution the behaviour, or properties, of the system can be predicted by the average of the components. In a power law or scale free distribution, there is no average and super nodes 'emerge' from the interconnections formed through growth, preferential attachment and fitness as the system changes over time - is this the same as emergent properties?
I know everyone is busy at the moment, but I'd really appreciate any thoughts on this.
Thanks
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby Teiana on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:07 am

no i don't think it works like that.

emergent properties just 'happen'. You can't rule for them, that's how it is that they are emergent.

yesterday while cycling i nearly ran over two people who had decided that the middle of a cycle path was a good place for a snog.

If there had only been one of them, they wouldn't have been doing that. 'Snogging' is an emergent property of two people fancying each other and standing too close, right ? :-) ... No amount of 'power law distribution' could predict they would want to do that.

Yesterday I cooked up some leftover duck. I added sesame oil, salt, barbeque seasoning, chicken flavour gravy granules, chili powder, water, and a little ground ginger, and a big onion.

We both agreed it tasted very nice.

I'm quite sure that if i ate those items separately, it wouldn't have tasted nice. So the flavour is an emergent property caused by my mixing and cooking the ingredients.


You can't 'graph' taste.

Or sunsets, they're emergent too.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby jamesWtc on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:14 am

Teiana wrote:no i don't think it works like that.


Sorry I have to disagree.

Power law distribution is an emergent property of complex networks. There is no central governance of how each node in a network is connected to each other, yet the number of links follow power law distribution.

Also, look at the wikipedia entry of Emergence.

James
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby Teiana on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:15 am

the other way around though is ok, 'distribution' IS an emergent property.

If i plot nodes on a graph, the pattern they make, emerges, sure.

(ie, emergent properties 'explains' why there's such a thing as distribution...)

But you can't use graphed distributions to explain emergent behaviour. Not on it's own. You could argue that you could use graphs to show 'likely' outcomes... but then you would need to consider an infinite number of possibilities. Including all the ones you hadn't thought of.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby Teiana on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:18 am

Power law distribution is an emergent property of complex networks


I wouldn't dispute that! but that wasn't the question.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby Teiana on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:20 am

If i punched you in the face, it hurting would be an emergent property. But that doesn't mean you can use your face hurting to explain 'punching'. or to explain emergent properties...since not all emergent properties are painful.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby jamesWtc on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:24 am

Teiana wrote:the other way around though is ok, 'distribution' IS an emergent property.

If i plot nodes on a graph, the pattern they make, emerges, sure.

(ie, emergent properties 'explains' why there's such a thing as distribution...)

But you can't use graphed distributions to explain emergent behaviour. Not on it's own. You could argue that you could use graphs to show 'likely' outcomes... but then you would need to consider an infinite number of possibilities. Including all the ones you hadn't thought of.


This may be a tricky one since NOT ALL complex networks exhibits power law... but in many complex networks scientists have began to realised the power-law as common distribution.
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby jamesWtc on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:26 am

llamagirl wrote:Can power law distribution be used to explain emergent properties?


I think it can be used as an example. It is the hierarchy of the systems that makes power-law distribution.

So, my answer is "yes". Power law distribution can be used to explain emergent properties, but it is not the only one.
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby Teiana on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:41 am

tricky one since NOT ALL complex networks exhibits power law...



I didn't say they did! !!!!!!
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby Teiana on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:42 am

Power law distribution can be used to explain emergent properties



no, it can't! IF you think it can, then please show me how. Explain love, or beauty, or flavour, using 'power-law distribution!
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