Generally speaking, the goals of statistical physics may be summarized as follows: on the one hand to study systems composed of a large number of interacting units, and on the other to predict the macroscopic, collective behavior of the system considered from the perspective of the microscopic laws governing the dynamics of the individual entities. These two goals are essentially also shared by what is now called 'complex systems science,' and as such, systems studied in the framework of statistical physics may be considered to be among the simplest examples of complex systems – while also offering a rather well developed mathematical treatment.
The second edition has been significantly revised and expanded, featuring in particular three new chapters addressing non-conserved particles, evolutionary population dynamics, networks, properties of both individual and coupled simple dynamical systems, and convergence theorems, as well as short appendices that offer helpful hints on how to perform simple stochastic simulations in practice.
Yet, the original spirit of the book – to remain accessible to a broad, non-specialized readership – has been kept throughout: the format is a set of concise, modular and self-contained topical chapters, avoiding technicalities and jargon as much as possible, and complemented by a wealth of worked-out examples, so as to make this work useful as a self-study text or as textbook for short courses.
From the reviews of the first edition:
“... a good introduction to basic concepts of statistical physics and complex systems for students and researchers with an interest in complex systems in other fields ... .” Georg Hebermehl, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1237, 2012
“... this short text remains very refreshing for the mathematician.” Dimitri Petritis, Mathematical Reviews, Issue 2012k
Representative examples of topics covered include: chaos gates, social networks, communication, sensors, lasers, molecular motors, biomedical anomalies, stochastic resonance, nano-oscillators for generating microwave signals and related complex systems. A common theme among these and many other related lectures is to model, study, understand, and exploit the rich behavior exhibited by nonlinear systems to design and fabricate novel technologies with superior characteristics. Consider, for instance, the fact that a shark’s sensitivity to electric fields is 400 times more powerful than the most sophisticated electric-field sensor. In spite of significant advances in material properties, in many cases it remains a daunting task to duplicate the superior signal processing capabilities of most animals. Since nonlinear systems tend to be highly sensitive to perturbations when they occur near the onset of a bifurcation, there are also lectures on the general topic of bifurcation theory and on how to exploit such bifurcations for signal enhancements purposes. This manuscript will appeal to researchers interested in both theory and implementations of nonlinear systems.
The 21 full papers and 4 short papers presented were carefully reviewed and selected from 63 submissions. They present innovative research and explore new challenges in the field of critical information infrastructures protection (C(I)IP) and deal with multi-disciplinary approaches to relevant C(I)IP problems.
Principles of Systems Science contains many graphs, illustrations, side bars, examples, and problems to enhance understanding. From basic principles of organization, complexity, abstract representations, and behavior (dynamics) to deeper aspects such as the relations between information, knowledge, computation, and system control, to higher order aspects such as auto-organization, emergence and evolution, the book provides an integrated perspective on the comprehensive nature of systems. It ends with practical aspects such as systems analysis, computer modeling, and systems engineering that demonstrate how the knowledge of systems can be used to solve problems in the real world. Each chapter is broken into parts beginning with qualitative descriptions that stand alone for students who have taken intermediate algebra. The second part presents quantitative descriptions that are based on pre-calculus and advanced algebra, providing a more formal treatment for students who have the necessary mathematical background. Numerous examples of systems from every realm of life, including the physical and biological sciences, humanities, social sciences, engineering, pre-med and pre-law, are based on the fundamental systems concepts of boundaries, components as subsystems, processes as flows of materials, energy, and messages, work accomplished, functions performed, hierarchical structures, and more. Understanding these basics enables further understanding both of how systems endure and how they may become increasingly complex and exhibit new properties or characteristics.Serves as a textbook for teaching systems fundamentals in any discipline or for use in an introductory course in systems science degree programsAddresses a wide range of audiences with different levels of mathematical sophisticationIncludes open-ended questions in special boxes intended to stimulate integrated thinking and class discussion Describes numerous examples of systems in science and societyCaptures the trend towards interdisciplinary research and problem solving