© 2006

Information and Self-Organization

A Macroscopic Approach to Complex Systems


Part of the Springer Series in Synergetics book series (SSSYN)

About this book


This book presents the concepts needed to deal with self-organizing complex systems from a unifying point of view that uses macroscopic data. The various meanings of the concept "information" are discussed and a general formulation of the maximum information (entropy) principle is used. With the aid of results from synergetics, adequate objective constraints for a large class of self-organizing systems are formulated and examples are given from physics, life and computer science. The relationship to chaos theory is examined and it is further shown that, based on possibly scarce and noisy data, unbiased guesses about processes of complex systems can be made and the underlying deterministic and random forces determined. This allows for probabilistic predictions of processes, with applications to numerous fields in science, technology, medicine and economics. The extensions of the third edition are essentially devoted to an introduction to the meaning of information in the quantum context. Indeed, quantum information science and technology is presently one of the most active fields of research at the interface of physics, technology and information sciences and has already established itself as one of the major future technologies for processing and communicating information on any scale.

This book addresses graduate students and nonspecialist researchers wishing to get acquainted with the concept of information from a scientific perspective in more depth. It is suitable as a textbook for advanced courses or for self-study.


Helium-Atom-Streuung Information Information Theory Quantum information REM STEM Self-Organisation Shannon Synergetics chaos theory cognition complex system complex systems entropy thermodynamics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Theoretische Physik, Zentrum für SynergetikUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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From the reviews of the third edition:

"This enlarged edition of Information and Self-Organization addresses the concept of information in depth: ranging ‘from Shannon information, from which all semantics has been exorcised, to the effects of information on receivers and the self-creation of meaning’—that is, toward semantic information … . Nevertheless, both the qualitative lessons and quantitative analysis presented in the book … very useful for artificial life researchers." (Mikhail Prokopenko, Artificial Life, Vol. 15, 2009)