Emergence and power law distribution?

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

Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby jamesWtc on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:44 am

Teiana wrote:
tricky one since NOT ALL complex networks exhibits power law...



I didn't say they did! !!!!!!


Easy.... I didn't say you did :) I was just elaborating my points. OK. Maybe I shouldn't quote your post ;)
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby jim_lewis1 on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:49 am

I think the word 'explain' is being misused here.

Power law relationships can describe some emergent properties, (eg preferential attachment to internet nodes), but in no way explains why this occurs.
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby llamagirl on Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:43 pm

I did not expect to get replies to my question that included snogging, cooking and punching someone in the face!!!lol

Ok, I can see that the word explain was wrong - a graph is a representation of something and therefore a description, but what is it that explains it? Barabasi talks about power laws being a sign of self organisation, so are emergent properties a result of a system undergoing self organisation from chaos to order?
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby jim_lewis1 on Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:07 pm

OK I see what you mean: If an emergent property shows a power law relationship the system may be exhibiting self-organising behaviour.
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby Teiana on Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:28 pm

are emergent properties a result of a system undergoing self organisation from chaos to order?


No. We may observe/see/percieve order in an emergent property. But 'emergent properties' just emerge. They aren't connected to order or lack of it. They could result from a system undergoing self-organisation from chaos to order, but they could also result from order going to chaos. Melting ice is order going to chaos, an emergent property of melting ice is flooding... for example.

you just can't come up with a nice neat mathematical explanation for 'emergent properties' - i think you're working on the premise that you can, and i think that's erroneous.

If any one thing, connects in any way, to any other thing, then there are emergent properties. On any scale. Only a completely unreduceable particle frozen in time and space and utterly alone, might manage not to have 'emergent properties'. Other than that, they keep happening. Mould is an emergent property of leaving cheese lying around, in a suitable atmosphere. You can't tidy all 'emergent properties' into a nice neat graph.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby Teiana on Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:29 pm

look at it this way

Life is an emergent property.

Now do you see how impossible it is to make a graph of it?
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby llamagirl on Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:42 pm

The reason I'm asking about this is because of the case study we did this year, this is how I've explained it on the course forum:

In TMA07 I used power law distribution to describe PPOs- large hubs connected to many crimes. If a normal distribution was followed then PPOs would not exist because there would be many offenders who commited an average number of crimes. Using a MCD or sign graph you can see how PPOs emerge from the system as a result of feedback processes. This is why I thought there must be a connection between power laws and emergence.

(PPOs - Prolific & other Priority Offenders)

I've found it difficult to connect Block 1 to the other blocks and am trying to see how block 1 concepts fit in with the other course concepts, and how they might be used in a systemic analysis. I think that chaos theory does have something to do with emergent properties, a PPOs repeat offending could be compared to behaviour bounded by an attractor basin
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby llamagirl on Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:44 pm

Teiana wrote:look at it this way

Life is an emergent property.

Now do you see how impossible it is to make a graph of it?


No but a graph is a visual representation of the properties of certain systems. So I accept that the graph doesn't cause the behaviour, but something that the graph represents does
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby Teiana on Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:17 pm

tobogganing on snow is fun: fun is an emergent property of tobogganing on snow. You could graph all the factors you thought were important to create 'fun' this way, and still not understand fun.
imagine trying to explain it to an alien. You might say you need a certain air humidity, and a certain depth of snow, and a certain angle of slope, and a certain size of toboggan, etc etc etc. but none of that would explain quite why human+ toboggan+ snow+ lots and lots of other factors = fun emerging.
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Re: Emergence and power law distribution?

Postby Teiana on Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:18 pm

the graph doesn't cause the behaviour, but something that the graph represents does


a graph models one part of a whole. so the graph represents only a model of part of the cause.
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