Fringe and Geekery

Fringe Topics and Geekery Track of The Goa Project 2016

gayatri rao


Butterflies to Chaos to Complexity... and to life thereof

Submitted Jan 18, 2016

This session would engage participants by
Looking at the limits of a deterministic, analytic approach to science and generally the world
Delving on some key concepts from chaos theory and the study of complex systems
Simulation of interesting models from diverse fields (ecology, social-science, computer science etc) based on the approach of complexity


Much of the scientific approach that we have inherited since the Renaissance is what could be termed as ‘reductionist’ and ‘deterministic’. To say in other words, ‘scientific approach’ is to isolate phenomena, study it in increasingly microscopic way with the aim of discovering principles o operation. The principles are often depicted as analytic, linear models - an input producing a predictable output. Any unpredictable component of the output was conveniently deemed as error or noise. But such an approach is running into its limits in different fields – genetics, economics, weather-systems, ecology, society and the universe at large. At the edge of classical science was non-linearity and randomness and ‘chaos’. It should not come as a surprise that most of the world is non-linear, complex and chaotic. To quote a mathematician ‘Using a term like nonlinear science is like referring to the bulk of zoology as the study of non-elephant animals’
Complexity as an approach to science is being employed in various fields today – physical sciences, information theory, computing, genetics, medicine, economics etc. Much of our education system and learning has been dominated by the traditional reductionist paradigms. This spills over to our general way of life. Complexity is paradigm shift in the general philosophy of its approach. Our belief is that complexity helps us in understanding the world around us better.
The talk will also include a demo of interesting models from diverse applications – from anthills to evolution to traffic to sexism. We are also trying to fiddle around and develop our own models to better understand our social context – hope to showcase that in TGP 2016!


Whiteboard & markers

Speaker bio


I work with Thoughtworks as a Business Analyst. My resume fills with particulars of few years of various tech related roles. The usual engineer+MBA education. Bit of a sabbatical to generally travel about. Countless open browser tabs are my current reading backlog.


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