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emergence

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Scientists Discover Exotic New Patterns of Synchronization

In a world seemingly filled with chaos, physicists have discovered new forms of synchronization and are learning how to predict and control them.

Abstractions blog

Smarter Parts Make Collective Systems Too Stubborn

As researchers delve deeper into the behavior of decentralized collective systems, they’re beginning to question some of their initial assumptions.

In Theory

How Complex Wholes Emerge From Simple Parts

Throughout nature, throngs of relatively simple elements can self-organize into behaviors that seem unexpectedly complex. Scientists are beginning to understand why and how these phenomena emerge without a central organizing entity.

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Abstractions blog

The Simple Algorithm That Ants Use to Build Bridges

Even with no one in charge, army ants work collectively to build bridges out of their bodies. New research reveals the simple rules that lead to such complex group behavior.

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To Solve the Biggest Mystery in Physics, Join Two Kinds of Law

Reductionism breaks the world into elementary building blocks. Emergence finds the simple laws that arise out of complexity. These two complementary ways of viewing the universe come together in modern theories of quantum gravity.

Q&A

‘Digital Alchemist’ Seeks Rules of Emergence

Computational physicist Sharon Glotzer is uncovering the rules by which complex collective phenomena emerge from simple building blocks.