Talk:Self-organization

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Systems (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Systems, which collaborates on articles related to systems and systems science.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is within the field of Systems theory.
 

Self-organization in human society[edit]

You might care to mention that Marx and marxists often speak of the "self-organizion" of the working class.

True self organization requires that the units be free to "organize themselves". In human societies---made up of individuals---the units are not free currently to self organize.
This lack of freedom is an economic phenomenon: we are told that we have to earn the right "to be here" or be supported by some one (parents, sponsors, etc.,) who is "economically viable". Hence the basic social units are subject to the un-freedom imposed by "economic conscription".
This was inevitable throughout human history (civilizations had to be based on the enslavement---in some form of other---of the majority of individual units) until the onset of the Industrial Revolution. After this evolutionary milestone, while the "industrial and cultural arts" advanced in leaps and bounds, social institutions failed to adapt to the changes advancing science and technology introduced into the the wealth creating capacity of economies: Instead of gradually releasing individuals from the need to earn their right to the means of life by selling their labour, society is still pressing individuals into the a-human role of factors of production by the anachronistic concept work ethic.
This must change, else three thousand years worth of painful civilization-building will be wasted. Ref: The Economy of Abundance, Manhood of Humanity, etc.,
"...the point is to change it."
Janosabel (talk) 12:54, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Evolution and entropy[edit]

It seems that the "Evolution#Self-organization and entropy" section is no longer there. It is obvious that the energy input from the sun allows life to exist on Earth while the vast majority of the remainder of the universe tends towards increased disorder/entropy via the 2nd law of TD. I think that it is incumbent upon this article to explain its relationship to Biological evolution clearly. -- 199.33.32.40 04:26, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

I mentioned evolution, but I avoided attempting to yet explain the relationship. -- 199.33.32.40 04:47, 31 January 2007 (UTC)


NinjaQuick (talk) 18:20, 28 September 2010 (UTC) it's back. Unfortunately I disagree with this being an explanation of evolution, rather it is a legalese interpretation of a law that is simple and governs all. No exceptions due to it being Biology. This is a matter of egg/chicken or chicken/egg. You cannot have photosynthesis without a living cell, and you cannot have a living cell without photosynthesis. The sun can provide the energy for current life but, it will increase the entropy of a system that cannot use its energy. This increase makes the self-organization impossible.

This is to say: Life as we know it cannot exist on our planet with the Laws we have discovered.

As a law, it must be tested and true at every level. If you want to claim that it does not hold true in any situation where it must hold true mathematically then call it a theory. Or Rule.

The assumption that if I decrease entropy here then somewhere entropy is increased is invalid as the change must be made in the same system. If you form a salt you get an increase in entropy from the gas and a decrease in entropy from the salt, with the heat produced you have a net 0 to positive entropy change for the system. Equilibrium will dissipate any variance very quickly. It is not quantum mechanics...

WHEN did the 'self-organization' concept originate?[edit]

I note that [citation needed] is included on the two references to Descartes with the request for inline annotaion. I find that to be odd. Part V of the Discorse on Method has the following points which seem to be self evident to me, but far to long to put "in line" so i cannot determine how to make the article more clear. ..t

"""what would happen in a new world, if God were now to create somewhere in the imaginary spaces matter sufficient to compose one, and were to agitate variously and confusedly the different parts of this matter, so that there resulted a chaos as disordered as the poets ever feigned, and after that did nothing more than lend his ordinary concurrence to nature, and allow her to act in accordance with the laws which he had established. ... I showed how the greatest part of the matter of this chaos must, in accordance with these laws, dispose and arrange itself in such a way as to present the appearance of heavens; how in the meantime some of its parts must compose an earth and some planets and comets, and others a sun and fixed stars.""" —Preceding unsigned comment added by 207.202.202.25 (talk) 23:20, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

The article claims, without attribution, in the lead-in paragraph that self-organization concept originated in the field of Physics. I suspect that the concept likely originated in several fields relatively independently, and in Physics it may very well have arisen de novo by physicists unfamiliar with the concept in any other field. But that is not my primary concern here.

In the social sciences (my field), I am aware of significant early development of SO in ancient Chinese political theory. The Taoists were articulating ideas on self-organization in the 6th-2nd centuries BC (1979, Hsiao, Kung-chuan, A History of Chinese Political Thought -- Volume One: From the Beginnings to the Sixth Century A.D., Princeton Library of Asian Translations). Chinese development stopped, to my knowledge, after the 2nd C. B.C. Outside of political science, where there was admittedly little theoretical development until the 20th C., there is a long history of self-organization theorizing in economics at least since Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson in the later 18th C. and much more explicitly in book 3 of Carl Menger's 1883, Untersuchungen uber die Methode der Socialwissenschaftern und der Politischen Oekonomie insbesondere, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig, which was first published in English in 1963 under the title: "Problems of economics and sociology," and again in 1985 under the (better translated) title of "Investigations into the method of the social sciences with special reference to economics."

So I make no claim as to which discipline had it first. Cross-discipline historiography is especially difficult. But I recommend we hash it out a bit on the discussion page and see if we can't agree on some improvements to the article. Perhaps a new section on the origin of the concept in various disciplines? Whadayathink? N2e 22:31, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

If noticed that the article gives multiple origins.
  1. The most robust and unambiguous examples of self-organizing systems are from physics, where the concept was first noted.
  2. One of the earliest statements of this idea was by the philosopher Descartes,
  3. The term "self-organizing" ... introduced in 1947 by the psychiatrist and engineer W. Ross Ashby.
Personally I think it is to answer the question When did the 'self-organization' concept originate?. It's not quite clear what the concept exactly is, so you can link it to all kinds of things: robust and unambiguous (and unexplained) examples in physics...??; ideas on self-organization articulated by the Taoists...? I think terms as first and earliest shouldn't be used here. I think only the third statement makes sense. - Mdd 23:02, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
I just make the note here that article cleanup vis-a-vis when the concept originated has not yet been done in the article. Mdd obviously agrees that such clean up is necessary, and I agree with Mdd that the third statement of his makes the most sense as an approach to deal with the subject. I don't have time to clean up the entire article. (although I would be happy to help on the self-organization in the social sciences sometime.) Any other editors who care about the overall construct of the SO article want to give it a try? N2e 20:58, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

The concept of "self-organization", named as such, originates from Kant's Critique of Judgement, page 347 (Google Books version page 202). I have changed the page to reflect this. Perhaps someone with more knowledge of wiki standards and formatting and references can clean it up properly - I'm a newbie. I found the reference to Kant in Evelyn Fox Keller 2005 "Ecosystems, Organisms and Machines", BioSciences vol. 55 no. 12. --Unesn6iduja (talk) 17:18, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Definition of entrophy[edit]

And you might care to verify that science does not define such a thing a entrophy, only a change entrophy. Nothing has entrophy but when potential energy is reduced an increase in entrophy occurs. 199.80.65.51 17:49, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Do you mean "entropy"? In that case, you are incorrect. See this. Now that is in the context of statistical mechanics, which you may think of as a more accurate microscopic version of classical thermodynamics. It may be correct that in classical thermo only differences in entropy are well-defined, but I am not sure. Joshua Davis (talk) 19:52, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Self-organization vs self-ordering[edit]

The roots of the words indicate a clear distinction: ordo means rank or regular arrangement whereas organizare means to contrive, arrange. Clearly these words do not even apply to the same conceptual level.

For example, in Crystallization the term organization is never used, instead it uses the in this context proper term ordering. This applies to al the physical and chemical examples given: They show self-ordering not self-organization.

The term ordering is used to describe a structural or logical arrangement. The term organization is used to describe functional relations within a system. Organization implies a structural and logical arrangement, but requires much more. Something can be orderly without being a system.

This means that the term ordering is not really equivalent to organization (or organizing). -- gmlk (talk) 23:03, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Self-ordering phenomena should not be confused with self-organization. Self-ordering events occur spontaneously according to natural “law” propensities and are purely physicodynamic. Crystallization and the spontaneously forming dissipative structures of Prigogine are examples of self-ordering. Self-ordering phenomena involve no decision nodes, no dynamically-inert configurable switches, no logic gates, no steering toward algorithmic success or “computational halting”. Hypercycles, genetic and evolutionary algorithms, neural nets, and cellular automata have not been shown to self-organize spontaneously into nontrivial functions. Laws and fractals are both compression algorithms containing minimal complexity and information. Organization typically contains large quantities of prescriptive information. Prescriptive information either instructs or directly produces nontrivial optimized algorithmic function at its destination. Prescription requires choice contingency rather than chance contingency or necessity. Organization requires prescription, and is abstract, conceptual, formal, and algorithmic. Organization utilizes a sign/symbol/token system to represent many configurable switch settings. Physical switch settings allow instantiation of nonphysical selections for function into physicality. Switch settings represent choices at successive decision nodes that integrate circuits and instantiate cooperative management into conceptual physical systems. Switch positions must be freely selectable to function as logic gates. Switches must be set according to rules, not laws. Inanimacy cannot “organize” itself. Inanimacy can only self-order. “Self-organization” is without empirical and prediction-fulfilling support. No falsifiable theory of self-organization exists. “Self-organization” provides no mechanism and offers no detailed verifiable explanatory power. Care should be taken not to use the term “self-organization” erroneously to refer to low-informational, natural-process, self-ordering events, especially when discussing genetic information. ( Self-organization vs. self-ordering events in life-origin models, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plrev.2006.07.003 ) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gmlk (talkcontribs) 11:37, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

The distinction made here between "order" and "organization" assumes that nonlinear order is impossible. Were this true (it isn't), feedback effects even as simple as that between microphone and amplifier would be causally traceable; i.e., one could attribute a first cause to the effect.

Organization is order with feedback. That is, time-dependent systems require no "prescriptive information" to self-organize, any more than an orchestra requires a conductor to synchronize the beat. Several interesting examples of self-organized regularity of this type are discussed in Steven Strogatz's book Sync; Hyperion, 2003. Self organization is indeed an observed natural phenomenon.

Thomas h ray (talk) 23:08, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

There is a difference between something being posible (a computer is posible) and something occure by it self. No one is saying that organisation is imposible, just that organization does not follow from the physical properties of the parts and it does not occure by itself. An orchestra is made up out of many intelligent actors. Could you give a example of self-organization, not self-ordering, without intelligent actor(s) being involved? -- gmlk (talk) 14:07, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Sure. Examples abound in both organic and inorganic nature. If you consider the synchronizing behavior of fireflies, e.g., discussed in Strogatz's book referenced above to be "intelligent" behavior, then consider chemical clocks. The statement in your source "inanimacy cannot organize itself" is simply incorrect. Nature is very well shown to be self organized at all levels. In the abstract sense of modeling, such as Per Bak's avalanche model, one can witness self organized criticality as an empirical result, driving large scale change from "below"at a critical threshold of small scale behavior. In other words, the behavior of "inanimate" particles cannot be distinguished from "intelligent" behavior in the model theoretic sense in which we objectively describe phenomena. Such models are really all we need; as Murray Gell-Mann put it (in John Horgan's book, The End of Science) no "something else" (i.e., no superfluous philosophy or belief) is required to describe and explain natural phenomena from the simplest (e.g., quarks) to the most complex (jaguars, human beings). See Gell-Mann's book, The Quark and the Jaguar. (Thomas h ray (talk) 17:02, 16 October 2009 (UTC)) Insert non-formatted text here

Exploitation vs. exploration[edit]

Overview is ending by a clarifying list, but point 3 obviously refers to some technically defined terms "exploitation and exploration", meaning something that regards the system's balance to the outer world. I removed the links that pointed to the colloquial exploitation and exploration, since such links would be misleading. In this context I put exploitation (systems theory) and exploration (systems theory) on my wish list. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 09:30, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

references not properly cited[edit]

The form of notes 21 and 23-36 are not useful - I want to consult the articles cited, but how can I do this when all that's given is a surname name and year? The journal name, date, and volume number should be supplied, with external links if available. This would be very useful, thanks in advance. Sascrutcher (talk) 15:08, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. All the citation numbers you mentioned in the July 2009 version of the article appear to be just as incomplete today. I have added {{full}} tags to see if someone familiar with the linguistics literature can help expand the citations so that others might be able to verify them. In the meantime, someone might want to research through the article history and find what editor added most of the linguistics-self-organization section; perhaps that editor would be willing to come back to the article and help improve the citations. N2e (talk) 14:19, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Missing citation in the overview[edit]

Among other missing citations, there is one that I think is important in the overview section.

Self-organization usually relies on four basic ingredients:

1. Positive feedback
2. Negative feedback
3. Balance of exploitation and exploration
4. Multiple interactions

There is no reference to where this is taken from and for what I've read there's no consensus on the main "ingredients" for a self-organizing system.

TheSen (talk) 12:58, 24 January 2010 (UTC)TheSen

You are absolutely correct TheSen. This article needs a lot of work. I am aware of no reliable sources that make an effort to compare the progress of self-organization in scientific thought between the various disciplines (e.g., physics, economics, chemistry, etc.). Thus, it is quite difficult to say exactly what "self-organization" is in a one-size-fits-all general way. We can however find definitions for self-organization in the context of several of the various disciplines mentioned in the article. I'm not quite sure how to handle a generic definition at the top of the article, but am happy to work with others to improve it. My own familiarity is with SO within the context of economics and the social sciences. My guess is that most of the editors who have edited this article over time have generally come to it with expertise in only one or a few of the many disciplines in which self-organization has been theoretically explicated. N2e (talk) 13:43, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
I would like to work on a complete make over of this article, but I'm new to both Wikipedia editing and SO. I'm starting my PhD in Computer Science and my research topics are Complex Systems in general and SO, swarm intelligence and complex networks being a little more specific (I still have to deepen in the field). Anyway, I'm currently working with biological and social systems so anything I can do, it will be my pleasure.TheSen (talk) 14:54, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
If you are willing to do some hard work to improve this article, I would encourage you to BE BOLD and go for it. Having said that, I think it best you describe proposed major changes (only the major ones) on the Talk page for a day or two so that you don't inadvertantly "gore someone's ox". My only strong viewpoint on matters outside of self-organization in economics and the social sciences is that, clearly, the self-organization theoretical concept has been developed, under many different names, in many different disciplines (and even in the same discipline; e.g., in economics we have quite different terms from Adam Smith ("the obvious and simple system of natural liberty establishes itself of its own accord", Wealth of Nations, 1776) to a number of economists in the 20th century ("grown order", to "spontaneous order," to "complex adaptive economics", etc.). Thus, you and I have to be careful not to overrepresent the entire phenomenon in terms from computer science (you) or economics (me). I will try to help you if you are interested, especially on the social science section as I'm familiar with a bit of the literature. So, go for it. N2e (talk) 20:18, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I didn't forget this, I'm a little busy this days but I'm preparing some changes. Hope to have something, even if it's short, for this weekend. --TheSen (talk) 08:21, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Rewriting the article[edit]

Hello there!

I changed my user account, I was previously TheSen. I was studying a little on the topic and although I cannot rewrite it completely I think that I can make some small change to start with. I will need some help writing some technical parts or parts from physics and linguistics for example.

To start with, I think the introduction (the part before the Overview) should be something like:

Self-organization is the process where a structure or pattern appears in a system without a central authority or external element imposing it. This globally coherent pattern appears from the local interaction of the elements that makes up the system, thus the organization is achieved in a way that is parallel (all the elements act at the same time) and distributed (no element is a coordinator).

Now it includes some confusing ideas that can be explained later and misses to address the concept itself.

I would also change the Overview and historical notes, to include a few more references and deal with some of the key ideas as the 2nd law of the thermodinamics, attractors, noisy search and robustness/resilience. I'm working on it.


Juan, although this is a great improvement over previous introductions, I think it could be clearer, for these reasons:

1. Self organization is less a process of its own, than it is a process governing processes (i.e., a principle or physical law). 2. When one speaks of structures or patterns that "appear," one is likely to confuse self organization with emergence. 3. The distinction between local and global is misleading; self organized behavior is always interpreted as a global property of the system. (Self organized criticality, OTOH, makes a local-global distinction.) 4. " ... act at the same time" does not always apply. E.g., Braha & Bar-Yam (Braha, D. & Bar-Yam, Y. [2006]. “From Centrality to Temporary Fame: Dynamic Centrality in Complex Networks.” Complexity vol 12, no 2, pp 59-63) showed time dependence in communication networks, such that changing hub configurations can vary radically at short intervals of observation, even while the system remains relatively static over longer intervals, using the principle of multi-scale variety.

My suggested change:

"Self organization" descibes a system of cooperative elements, whose patterns of global behavior are distributed (i.e., no single element coordinates the activity) and self limiting.

What do you think?

Tom RayThomas h ray (talk) 17:30, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Please argue on the self-limiting property, because that might just be a special case in biology. --143.205.116.187 (talk) 09:06, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

JuanCano (talk) 18:34, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

There is an incorrect statement in the introduction where self organization is defined. The statement "The resulting organization is wholly decentralized or distributed over all the components of the system." Is incorrect because in physics self organized objects such as planetary systems and galaxies are clearly not decentralized.If you need a reference see Lee Smolins Life of the Cosmos. Also I think we could debate within this realm the basic definition, because as these objects begin to form they appear to be controlled by the agent "gravity." There are other factors at play but without gravity there would be no discussion. Actually I think there are different kinds of self organization and that such a comphensive definition doesn't work when you include physics.I favor the definition. "Something is self-organizing if, left to itself, it tends to become more organized." This definition was taken from http://masi.cscs.lsa.umich.edu/~crshalizi/notebooks/self-organization.html/.

Maxeng (talk) 10:07, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Collective animal behavior and brain behavior[edit]

please see this page

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_animal_behavior_and_brain_behavior

it is yet not very articulated article — Preceding unsigned comment added by Scienficreal (talkcontribs) 21:49, 20 March 2011 (UTC) --Scienficreal (talk) 22:01, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Self-Organization as an Explanation for the Emergence of 'Life' from 'Matter'[edit]

In an article titled: "What is 'Life' and What is 'Consciousness'" [Ref:Science & Culture, published by Indian Science News Association, Vol.70, No.7-8, July-August, 2004], Hasmukh K. Tank has proposed that Self-Organization seems to be the mechanism responsible for the emergence of 'Life' from 'Matter'. And our subjective experience of 'Mind' and 'Consciousness' may be arising from the "Balance of the electrostatic fields produced by individual neurons" similar to the 'dark energy' contained in the space. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.91.215.239 (talk) 14:58, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

translate to hebrew[edit]

I am starting translate this article to hebrew — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sharonr2012 (talkcontribs) 06:19, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Second Law of Thermodynamics and Causality[edit]

As the Arrow of time is defined through the Second Law of Thermodynamics, self-organization seems to either

  • introduce an idea which is opposite to the Second Law, or
  • introduce an idea of causality which in breach with standard notions of such.

This needs to be discussed more closely in the article. I put a [dubious ] tag after this sentence: "This process is spontaneous: it is not directed or controlled by any agent or subsystem inside or outside of the system" as this is at best questionable. For instance, the Game of Life example was actually created, or caused, by Conway, who is outside the system, a computer whose energy is continuously caused by a power plant, etc. Hence, there are causes from outside the system. Self-organization seems to be a concept which is analogous to homeostasis but which according to the current article makes a controversial claim about homeostasis as a perpetual motion machine. From my POV, the article right now reads as a poster for a POV. Notice that the Spontaneous order article (what's the difference?) states, "Spontaneous order, also known as "self-organization", is the spontaneous emergence of order out of seeming chaos." (my emphasis). Narssarssuaq (talk) 16:58, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

In response to these grievances, I added a Criticism section. Narssarssuaq (talk) 22:37, 17 September 2012 (UTC) I also added a short provision in the lead. Narssarssuaq (talk) 19:35, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

New Example for Self organizing Structure[edit]

You take a large flat stainless steel pan or Pot on a full gas Flame or stove. You add 3-5mm Water and allready cooked Rice. (was a pot of steamed chicken). Just enough that it rarely covers the bottom of the pan in one layer. On strong Boiling, the Lengthly Rice corns will align around Boiling Zones of one ricecorn size. the interesting Part of it: it will form a stable GRID. The grains oscillate a bit. during cooking it is a Stable prismatic Grid. Several 5 cells large that is correct. a bit disturbing the rice is not completely cylindrically. Can someone please confirm this observation, and e.g. using oblique electric fields, etc. could one produce lenghy Dipol Nanoparticle Surface Grids, that then would be fixed burning the thing? A prismatic GRID IS ALWAYS of USE in nanostructure surfaces. For example, fill cavities with magnetic materials, produce storage, create optical filters, etc. the Grid is the only mechanically stable variant for the particles. On a random oscillation the particles align skew according to their density in a fitting grid. --Wikistallion (talk) 12:39, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

The concpt 'Self organization' is to be defined with all of the levels of existance carefully.In brief the levels of existance can be thought of as given below. 1. Inert world (with physical, chemical, crystal, organo-chemical complexities),2. Biological world (biomolecular, viral, cellular, multi-cellular,neural levels of coplexities), 3. social level,4. Noospherical (mental) level In each of the above qualitative levels there are micro, meso,macro dimensional aspects to be considered. This approach is based on prevalent genaral objective understanding of the coplexities of our Universe. உலோ.செந்தமிழ்க்கோதை (talk) 10:49, 16 May 2015 (UTC)