Diversity in Decentralized Systems:Enabling Self-Organizing Solutions by N.L. Johnson
This paper was presented to a group of social scientists (anthropology, political science, economics, business, etc.) concerned with how decentralization influences the functioning of organizations. This paper contains careful definitions of terms, such as agent, local/global, robust/fragile, self-organizing, chaotic/stable, diversity and common world view (context). The advantages and disadvantages of decentralized systems are presented. The abstract is included below.
The Science of Social Diversity: How diversity enables organizations
• PDF file of slides (488K) (LA-UR-00-3150) • MS PowerPoint file - Notes option has full text of talk (172K) (LA-UR-00-3150) • You can watch it over the LANL video feed over the Net - jump to 1:51 in the presentation (Sorry LANL only) • See the video at Diversity Office or Library at LANL
This presentation tells a story of how two roles of diversity in science are in conflict - from the personal perspective of the speaker. And how organizations (and individuals) are not clear about which role of diversity they support. Is it possible that this conflict may explain why some people are troubled about diversity in the workplace? The speaker proposed that the solution to our distress is to understand the scientific view of diversity. The talk ends by presenting a case for enabling diversity - based on science, in which organizations perform better, are more innovative and are more robust.
The Science of Social Diversity by N.L. Johnson and V.A. Longmire.
A two page summary of how a non-competitive view of diversity, based on simple computations, leads to a new understanding of how organizations, even society, really work.
Fall of the House of Experts (or A Reason to be Hopeful about the Future) Public lecture given by Norman L. Johnson in the Santa Fe Institute Public Lecture Series on April 12, 2000.
From the announcement:
“If we could only find the right expert, our problems would be solved” is the modern mindset to solving problems-whether in scientific institutions, large corporations, or even in our personal lives for investment choices or the best diet. Yet, how can experts predict what they themselves cannot understand in a growing and increasingly complex world? Still we continue to rely on experts because we believe that there are no alternatives. This talk reveals a hidden mechanism for collective improvement in decision-making. This "decentralized intelligence" relies on non-competition, diversity, decentralization and self-organization. Examples of decentralized intelligence are the "invisible hand" in capitalistic systems, grassroots problem solving in large corporations and societies, the remarkable efficiency of the U.S. stock market and possibly the current, unexpected U.S. prosperity. From this new viewpoint, there may be great optimism for the future of humankind as new technologies (such as the Internet) enhance decentralized intelligence in organizations, governments, even society itself.
The Science of Diversity—From a Big Perspective
Developmental Insights into Evolving Systems: Roles of Diversity, Non-Selection, Self-Organization, Symbiosis by N.L. Johnson.
Summarizes in 10 pages how decentralized, adaptive systems evolve by a developmental process. How each developmental stage has different mechanisms, from competition in the Immature/Formative stage to emergent collective effects in the Mature/Co-Operational stage to exclusive cooperation in the Senescent/Condense stage. Diversity is the key to understanding how each stage improves and the system is vulnerable (or not) to failure within a changing environment. An expanded version of this paper will appear soon.
by N.L. Johnson.
This paper was presented to a group of social scientists (anthropology, political science, economics, business, etc.) concerned with how decentralization influences the functioning of organizations. This paper contains careful definitions of terms, such as agent, local/global, robust/fragile, self-organizing, chaotic/stable, diversity and common world view (context). The advantages and disadvantages of decentralized systems are presented. The abstract follows:
The Importance of Diversity: Reconciling natural selection and non-competitive processes by N.L. Johnson.
This paper looks in detail at the competing views of diversity in natural selection and self-organizing collectives in the absence of selection. Some of the material presented in this paper has been superseded by the material presented in Developmental Insights into Evolving Systems for the Artificial Life Conference (Aug 2000).
Collective Problem Solving: Functionality beyond the Individual by N.L. Johnson.
This paper presents the behavior of a model problem that expresses the improvement of groups by processes that do not involve the tradition methods of selection, cooperation or competition. It shows how groups using this emergent capability can perform better than the average individual. This paper captures in detail most of the technical results that are discussed in other document at this site.
The following two papers illustrate the same importance of diversity from an economic viewpoint. Particularly they present the surprising result that a collective actually does worse if only the high performing individuals are included in the collective process. While many of the conclusions are the same as observed in the simulations in Collective Problem Solving: Functionality beyond the Individual, the model problem is quite different. This suggest the conclusions are not specific to a certain model.
Diversity and Optimality by
Lu Hong and Scott E. Page
Problem Solving by Heterogeneous
Agents by Lu Hong and Scott E. Page
Application of These Ideas to Information Systems:
How Diverse People & Networks Will Change the World
Self-Organizing Knowledge Systems: Enabling Diversity by N. Johnson,
The viewgraphs of this talk illustrate how a non-competitive view of the role of diversity, when applied to information systems, will enable organizations to become innovative and solve problems which are more difficult than can be solved by experts or centralized, premeditative methods.
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