25th September 2003 - Chaos Theory Tamed

It took me some days to get through the pages of "Chaos Theory Tamed" by Garnett P. Williams. This dense compilation of various methods to identify and describe chaos is probably on the edge of my research into CALM; nevertheless it was interesting reading for the most part, the rest was formulas which I now know where to find ;-)

In general this book gave me a lot of insight into the mathematical definitions of chaos which is highly valuable as a point of reference when one is exposed to various discussions and opinions on the subject. What I learned especially is to relate the classic "Butterfly Effect" to the mathematics; this example is probably one of the more popular examples at least for non mathematicians such as me.

I summary my most important learning about chaos can be summed up as follow:

- chaos results from a deterministic process; the previous state has effect on the current, which again has effect on the next.

- chaos happens only in non-linear systems

- chaos happens in systems with sensitive initial conditions

There are of course many more characteristics of chaos in a mathematical sense, but these three factors will at least be able to account for the time-worm which leads to the "Butterfly Effect".

Having read the book, I am now thinking if chaos is really a concept which is relevant in an organizational sense; on one hand, the human factor in an organization would in my opinion compensate a lot and make the organizational processes less sensitive to initial conditions. On the other hand, an organizational summary of many computerized processes that interact directly with no human interference could in theory be on a "route to chaos" as a consequence their rapid learning or action cycles based on binary "thinking"

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Updated 2003-09-25

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