Norman L. Johnson
Dr. Norman L. Johnson

Chief Scientist • Referentia Systems
Referentia Systems Inc • Honolulu, Hawaii

A Glossary of Words

Methodologies - Identifiable techniques that can be widely used in the area of study. Assumed to be of broad use. A technique of limited use is not a methodology. Likely this would not refer to a theory or approach to a general problem.

Self-organizing - (preferred over emerging) the ability of a distributed system to exhibit global structures or dynamics from local rules or interactions.

Emergent - as in an emergent property: one which cannot be observed locally in the subsystems, but only as a global structure or dynamic. We limit the usage to an emergent property or structure and not as an emergent system.

Complexity- Generally avoided as an overused and poorly defined word, except in specific systems.

Diversity - Diversity is a property of a group, not of an individual, and is defined to be the degree of unique contributions within a group in which its constituents have a common "world view" (see Johnson for a mathematical description). Applying this definition, if all the individuals within a group have identical contributions, then the group has zero diversity, although the contributions of the individuals may encompass all possible variations of the system. If each individual contributes a unique contribution not shared by others, then the diversity of a group is a maximum. The restriction to a common construct of the world is necessary, because comparisons between different constructs are not meaningful.

Experiments- activities that produce data or test concepts. Simulations are a subset of experiments, which are abstracted from the system that they model (or simulate).

Agents - an entity that moves through a system of interest - it has processing capability and memory (also see nodal). An agent includes people as well as "artificial" agents. Agents have the perspective of moving through informational space and not being restricted to a specific location in space. In numerical methods this concept is analogous to a Lagrangian treatment or approach. Hence, usage includes: agent approach, agent behavior, agent perspective, agent methods, etc. Note that an agent can be defined in a discrete space (a graph) in a nodal representation without loss of functionality, but only if all nodes contain the agent capability.

Nodes/nodal- (opposite of agent). Nodes have the perspective of being restricted to a specific location in space and not moving through informational space. In numerical methods this concept is analogous to an Eulerian treatment or approach. Hence, useful usage includes: nodal approach, nodal perspective, nodal methods, etc.

Problem solving - used in both a traditional sense of the act of a centralized problem solver, either a human or organization or a computing system. And also in the less accepted sense of a "solution" found by a self-organizing system. If the solution is a global property that is not observable locally, then it is an emergent property.

Collective- either a group of individuals, typically autonomous, that exhibit self-organizing behavior as a group



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