Basic Concepts of Synergetics I: Order Parameters and the Slaving Principle
In this chapter we adopt a rather broad view. We shall consider the complex systems that may occur in a variety of disciplines, such as physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine, but also economy and ecology. In all the cases considered, the systems are composed of many components, subsystems, elements, or parts. Some of the first steps of our analysis will be strongly reminiscent of dynamical systems theory, but later on decisive differences will appear. We distinguish the components by an index j = 1,..., N, where N may be a very large number (Fig. 4.1) and denote the activity of the component j by q j. Such activity may, for instance, be the firing rate of a neuron, but there are many other interpretations of q j depending on the kind of system. In order to characterize the activity of all the parts of a system, we must list the individual components.
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Self-Organization and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
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