||My definition of a complex system:
In any model of a complex system, any deviation from reality whether it be in concept, relationship or data values will introduce errors such that the behaviour of the model will rapidly diverge from that of reality. The butterfy does not cause the tornado, omitting its influence (or that of any other butterfly) renders useless the predictive capability of the model. Similarly, it is not that the model behavuiour is critically dependent on initial conditions, it is critically dependent on every aspect of the model, including the affect of external perturbations.
The big question that I have asked myself is how complex systems are created. Considering that I treat the whole univers as a very large collection of complex systems, the question becomes - how did the universe form. Apart from the big bang, I believe that there are some natural, underlying processes that explain how the stuff of the universe as we see it came about.
The same processes explain how atoms, stars, planets and life came about . I wrote a paper that tries to communicate this. Details are here Inanimate Evolution
What might also be of interest is the Butterfly Effect, although most people don't understand what it really means - as opposed to what people, including complexity science people, say it is.
3 June 2011