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H. Simon, Sciences of the Artificial. 1969.

Author of the summary: J. William Murdock, 1997, murdock@cc.gatech.edu

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Keywords: Science, System, Hierarchy

Systems: None

Summary: Chapter 1: Distinguishes between natural and "artificial"
sciences.  Discusses the relationship between artifacts and
environments.  Proposes that descriptions of artifacts can be viewed
as "interfaces", i.e. interactions between internal and external
environments.  Examines the role of computers to this theory, both as
tools for simulating systems and as complex systems in their own
right.  Notes that one key example of simulation is the simulation of
human intelligence.

Chapter 4 (Chapters 7, second edition): Suggests the idea of a domain
independent "general systems theory."  Argues that hierarchical
organization is a key component of a wide variety of complex systems.
Further argues that the process of evolution inherently tends toward
hierarchical systems.  Provides a wide variety of examples.  Discusses
a class of systems called "nearly decomposable systems" which can be
viewed as hierarchical to a reasonable degree of approximation.
Observes that hierarchical systems can generally be described more
elegantly than completely chaotic systems.  Discusses the relationship
between state and process descriptions (e.g. a mathematical definition
of a circle and a construction algorithm for a circle).  Further
relates this topic to the relationship between ontogeny and phylogeny
in biology and other fields.

Summary author's notes:

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