Q-analysis is a mathematical framework to describe and analyze structures. These structures are based on sets. This idea was first introduced by Ronald Atkin in the early 1970s. Atkin was a British mathematician teaching at the University of Essex. Crediting the inspiration of his idea to Clifford Dowker’s paper (Homology Groups of Relations, Annals of Math, 1952), he became interested in the algebra of relations in social structures. He tried to explain his idea in both mathematical and also accessible forms to both technical and general audience. His main ideas are reflected in The Mathematical Structure of Human Affairs (1974). That book covers the key ideas in q-analysis and its application to a wide range of examples, like analyzing game of chess, urban structures, politics at university, people and complexes, works of abstract art, and to physics. He contended that q-analysis can be considered as a powerful generalized method wherever we are dealing with relationships among sets.
- Jacky Legrand. How far can Q-analysis go into social systems understanding?. Fifth European Systems Science Congress, 2002.
- Atkin, R. (1972). From cohomology in physics to q-connectivity in social science. International Journal of Man-Machines Studies vol. 4, 139–167.
- Atkin, R. (1974). Mathematical Structure in Human Affairs. London, Heinemann.
- Atkin, R. (1976). An algebra for patterns on a complex II. International Journal of Man-Machines Studies vol. 8, 483–498.
- Atkin, R. (1977). Combinatorial Connectivities in Social Systems. Basel, Birkhäuser Verlag.
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