Complex Systems

A complex adaptive system has three characteristics. The first is that the system consists of a number of heterogeneous agents, and each of those agents makes decisions about how to behave. The most important dimension here is that those decisions will evolve over time. The second characteristic is that the agents interact with one another. That interaction leads to the third—something that scientists call emergence: in a very real way, the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. The key issue is that you can’t really understand the whole system by simply looking at its individual parts.

– Michael Mauboussin