Re: Heterogenous Complex Systems

From: Phil Goetz (
Date: Fri Sep 09 2005 - 14:54:46 MDT

--- Phil Goetz <> wrote:

> Not that I can think of any good examples of heterogenous
> complex systems.

Rule-based systems. Computer programs in general.

If complex systems theory could be applied to computer programs,
that could be very interesting. Perhaps you could

- use it to statistically guarantee response times in cases where
  no analytical proof of response time can be found

- estimate the probability or frequency of bugs

- flag probabilistically abnormal system performance (this could be
  used to detect bugs, or as a host-based intrusion detection system)

What would the state space be for a running rule-based system?

You could set it to be the computer's memory space, but I
suspect that would be intractable.

You could let it be a discrete space with one (or more) dimension
to denote which rule is being applied, and additional dimensions
to denote variable bindings. It would be difficult to analyze
spaces in which rules created other rules.

Random Boolean networks are like finite-state automata, which are
like simple computer programs. You could construct a projection
of a program from Turing space into FSA space by abstracting away
the non-FSA aspects of the computation, and perhaps apply theory
to that projected simplification of the program.

- Phil

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