Combinatory Systems and Automata: Simulating Self-Organization and Chaos in Collective Phenomena

By Piero Mella.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In plain words, I define as (social) Combinatory Systems a particular class of unorganized systems made up of a collectivity of similar agents (not functionally specialized, not necessarily interconnected by evident interactions) each of which is capable of producing a micro behaviour, and a micro effect, analogous to that of the others. If, on the one hand, the macro behaviour of the System, as a whole, derives from the combination – appropriately specified (sum, product, average, min, max, etc.) – of the analogous behaviours (or effects) of its similar agents (hence the name Combinatory System), on the other hand the macro behaviour (or the macro effect) represents a global information that determines, or conditions, or directs, by necessity, the subsequent micro behaviours. A Combinatory Automaton is a simple tool to simulate combinatory systems. This is composed of a lattice, each of whose cells contains a variable representing the state of an agent. The value of each cell at time th depends on a synthetic global variable whose values derive from some operation carried out on the values of the cells and that represents the synthetic state of the automaton. The micro-macro feedback connects the analytical values of the cells and the synthetic state of the automaton. I will try to demonstrate that combinatory systems represent a wide range of the behaviours of collectivities, that Combinatory Automata are a powerful tool for simulating the most relevant combinatory systems, and that combinatory systems, despite their simplicity, can show chaotic dynamics and, of course, path dependence.

Keywords: Agent-based Systems, Combinatory System, Combinatory Automaton, Populations and Collectivitiesù, Chaos in Social Behaviour

The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.17-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.130MB).

Prof. Piero Mella

Chair of Business Administration, Department of Management Research, Faculty of Economics, University of Pavia, Pavia, ITALY, Italy


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