Complexity theory

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In terms, complexity theory (CR:5) (LH:#) (TL:#) refers to []


In 1940s to 1960s, the roots of "complexity theory" began to take form in the related but distinct works of "systems theory", connected to the works of Ludwig Bertalanffy[1], Kenneth Boulding, Anatol Rapoport, Margaret Meed, Gregory Bateson; then "cybernetics"[2], surrounding the works of: Andre Ambere, Norbert Wiener, Ross Ashby; then "information theory", by Claude Shannon (1949); the artificial intelligence and computer science, by John Neumann, among others.

In 2011, Brian Castellani, made following "map of complexity science", which gives a pretty good outline of the history of "complexity science", as all of the various fragmented theories and proto-sciences began to be grouped under, in an umbrella term, aka the "science of complexity" as Ilya Prigogine (1984) called it:[3]

Complexity map (2011).jpg

The popularity of this general field of complexity science, most of which being the result of the rise of computer science, peaked in the 1980s and 1990s.

In modern terms, complexity science continues, but one that is fragmented into a number of varied, mostly computer-based subjects, e.g. data mining, agent based models, etc.


The following are quotes:

“As for the birth of the ‘science of complexity’, we propose to date it in 1811, the year Joseph Fourier won the prize of the French Academy of Science for his mathematical description of the propagation of heat in solids.”
Ilya Prigogine (1984), Order Out of Chaos (pg. 104) [4]

End matter


  1. Ludwig Bertalanffy – Hmolpedia 2020.
  2. Cybernetics – Hmolpedia 2020.
  3. (a) Complexity science map (2011) (WB) –
    (b) Castellani, Brian and Hafferty, Frederic. (2009). Sociology and Complexity Science. Springer.
  4. Prigogine, Ilya. (1984). Order Out of Chaos: Man’s New Dialogue with Nature (pg. 104). Verso, 2018.

External links

Theta Delta ics T2.jpg