Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

2-2009

Publication Source

International Journal of General Systems

Volume

38

Issue

2

Start Page

189

Last Page

212

DOI

10.1080/03081070802621846

Abstract

This paper presents a personal history of one strand of W. Ross Ashby's many ideas: using information theory to analyse complex systems empirically. It starts with where I entered the evolution of the idea as one of his students, points out a problem that emerged as a consequence of generalising information measures from simple to complex systems, i.e. systems with many variables, shows how this problem was eventually solved, and ends with how his idea of decomposing complex systems into smaller interactions reappears in one of the most complex technologies of our time: cyberspace. While nobody could anticipate the complexities that developed since, Ashby's idea of understanding complex systems in terms of manageable interactions, which I call electronic artefacts, is actually practised today and cyberspace is again worth analysing in information theoretical terms.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This article was published in International Journal of General Systems, 2009, © Taylor & Francis, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/03081070802621846.

Comments

The correction is included as an additional file. Its information is as follows: International Journal of General Systems, 38(6), 667-668.

Keywords

Information Theory, Cybernetica, Complexity, Interaction, Cyberspace, Computational Artifacts

Additional Files

Ashby Information Theory(corrections).pdf (107 kB)
correction to primary article

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Date Posted: 06 September 2013

This document has been peer reviewed.