Cosma / Communication / Knowledge / Form / Foundation / Theory / System / Complexity

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. — Alan J. Perlis, From Complexity to Simplicity: Unleash Your Organisation’s Potential



Complexity Theory Course (Systems Innovation, YouTube Playlist)
Systems Innovation (YouTube Channel)
Systems Innovation Network (Official Website)


complex : a group of obviously related units of which the degree and nature of the relationship is imperfectly known — Merriam-Webster   See also OneLook


Roget’s II (, Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, Visuwords


Complexity is generally used to characterize something with many parts where those parts interact with each other in multiple ways. There is no absolute definition of what complexity means; the only consensus among researchers is that there is no agreement about the specific definition of complexity. However, a characterization of what is complex is possible. The study of these complex linkages at various scales is the main goal of complex systems theory. — Wikipedia

Complexity (Encyclopædia Britannica)

What is Complexity (Principia Cybernetica)

Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science




Complex system is composed of many components which may interact with each other. In many cases it is useful to represent such a system as a network where the nodes represent the components and the links their interactions. Examples of complex systems are Earth’s global climate, organisms, the human brain, social and economic organizations (like cities), an ecosystem, a living cell, and ultimately the entire universe.

Complex system’s behavior is intrinsically difficult to model due to the dependencies, relationships, or interactions between their parts or between a given system and its environment. Systems that are “complex” have distinct properties that arise from these relationships, such as nonlinearity, emergence, spontaneous order, adaptation, and feedback loops, among others. Because such systems appear in a wide variety of fields, the commonalities among them have become the topic of their own independent area of research. — Wikipedia

Emergence occurs when “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” meaning the whole has properties its parts do not have. These properties come about because of interactions among the parts. In mathematical shorthand, W = P + I.

Emergence plays a central role in theories of integrative levels and of complex systems. For instance, the phenomenon of life as studied in biology is an emergent property of chemistry, and psychological phenomena emerge from the neurobiological phenomena of living things. — Wikipedia

Complexity Theory Course (Systems Innovation, YouTube Playlist)
Systems Innovation (YouTube Channel)
Systems Innovation Network (Official Website)



Talks about Complexity (TED: Ideas Worth Spreading)
Articles about Complexity (Big Think)




Santa Fe Institute (YouTube Channel)
Santa Fe Institute (Official Website)

What is complex systems science? (Santa Fe Institute)




Complexity Timeline (Exploratorium)


DDC: 003.7 Complex Systems (Library Thing)
Subject: Complexity (Library Thing)

Subject: Complexity (Open Library)

Subject: Complexity (Library of Congress)

Subject: Complexity (WorldCat)




Exploring Emergence (Mitchel Resnick and Brian Silverman, MIT Media Laboratory)
Complexity Exibit@Exploratorium

Complexity (MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching)
Complex Systems (MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching)
Complexity (OER Commons: Open Educational Resources)
Complex systems (OER Commons: Open Educational Resources)


Complexity Courses (edX)



Santa Fe Institute
New England Complex Systems Institute


Journal of Complexity
Computational Complexity
Complexity (JSTOR)



Complex Systems (




OEDILF: The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form




Here are links to pages about closely related subjects.

Knowledge Form
Philosophy Metaphysics, Logic, Epistemology, Ethics, Aesthetics
System, Cycle, Structure, Growth, Complexity, Control, Disturbance, Entropy, Chaos
Process, Manage, Design, Prototype, Implement, Assess, Revise, Maintain



1.   The resources on this page are are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma.