Complex Systems

How External Environment and Internal Structure Change the Behavior of Discrete Systems Download PDF

Jim Hay
Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
Western University, London, ON, Canada

David Flynn
King's University College, London, ON, Canada


This paper continues our computer studies using virtual systems to examine the behavior of subsystems in a system as a model of the behavior of social systems made up of individuals. The subsystems in our virtual system are global cellular automata (GCAs) as suggested by Wolfram [1], placed at the vertices of a GCA network (GCAN) as developed by Chandler [2]. The behavioral results are based on the four classes of cellular automata output patterns as identified by Wolfram [3] and are measured by the fraction of ordered GCAs in a GCAN.

Our objective has been to show how our theory of social dynamics explains this behavior. That theory states that the behavior of a social system and of our virtual systems model depends upon the external environment of the system defined as centrality and the internal structure of the system defined as the four parameters of differentiation, namely, diversity, connectedness, interdependence, and adaptability of the subsystems in the system. In previous papers we have shown the effect of diversity and connectedness. In this paper we show that behavior becomes more ordered and focused as interdependence and adaptability increase and as centrality decreases.