Background Readings CSSS20

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Complex Systems Summer School 2020



Classic Literature

The following is a collection of papers regarded as "classic" literature in Complex Systems Science. This list has been growing over the past few years and was formalized by Dan Rockmore for the 2010 Complex Systems Summer School.

Science and complexity by Warren Weaver

Rosenblueth, A., and N. Wiener. 1945. The Role of Models in Science. Philosophy of Science 12 (4):316-321.

Shannon, C.E. 1948. A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Bell System Technical Journal 27:379-423 623-656.

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Turing, A.M. 1952. The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 237 (641):37-72.]

Minksy, M. 1961. Steps Toward Artificial Intelligence. Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 49 (1):8-30.

Landauer, R. 1961. Irreversibility and Heat Generation in the Computing Process. IBM Journal of Research and Development 5:183-191.

Arrow, K.J. 1962. The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing. Review of Economic Studies 80:155-173.

Raup, D.M. 1966. Geometric Analysis of Shell Coiling; General Problems. Journal of Paleontology 40 (5):1178-1190.

Holland, J.H., and J.S. Reitman. 1977. Cognitive Systems Based on Adaptive Algorithms. SIGART Newsletter (63):49.

Gould, S.J., and N. Eldredge. 1977. Punctuated Equilibria: the Tempo and Mode of Evolution Reconsidered. Paleobiology 3 (2):115-151.

Langton, C.G. 1986. Studying Artificial Life with Cellular Automata. Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena 22 (1-3):120-149.

M. E. J. Newman. 2005. "Power laws, Pareto distributions and Zipf's law." Contemporary Physics 46, 323-351.

Aaron Clauset, Cosma Rohilla Shalizi, M. E. J. Newman. 2009. "Power-law distributions in empirical data." SIAM Review 51, 661-703.

Helpful Reference Books


* All of Statistics (Wasserman). Recommended by Cosma Shalizi.
* All of Nonparametric Statistics (Wasserman). Recommended by Cosma Shalizi.
* Advanced Data Analysis from an Elementary Point of View (Shalizi)
* Elements of Statistical Learning: Data Mining, Inference, and Prediction (Hastie, Tibshirani, Friedman). Recommended by Glenn Magerman
* Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Christopher Bishop)

Computer Science

* Nature of Computation (Moore). 
* The Algorithm Design Manual (Skiena). Recommended by Richard Barnes.

Data Analysis

* Nonlinear Time Series Analysis (Kantz & Schreiber). Recommended by Liz Bradley.
* Tidy Data (Hadley Wickham). Recommended by Brent Schneeman.

Information Theory

* Elements of Information Theory (Thomas M. Cover, Joy A. Thomas). Recommended by Simon DeDeo and others
* The Mathematical Theory of Communication (Claude Shannon)
* Information Theory, Inference and Learning Algorithms (David MacKay)

Prediction Markets

Probability Theory

* Probability Theory: The Logic of Science (E.T. Jaynes). Recommended by Simon DeDeo and others

Game Theory

* Multiagent Systems: Algorithmic, Game-Theoretic, and Logical Foundations (Shoham & Leyton-Brown)
* Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World (David Easley & Jon Kleinberg) 
*  Games and Economic Behavior: Stability of Equilibria in Games with Procedurally Rational Players (Rajiv Sethi)
*  Games 2015: Stable Sampling Equilibrium in Common Pool Resource Games (Juan Camilo Cárdenas, César Mantilla, and Rajiv Sethi)
*  Notices of the AMS 2016: What is Nash Equilibrium? (Rajiv Sethi and Jörgen Weibull)
*  Sampling, Stability, and Public Goods (Cesar Mantilla, Rajiv Sethi, and Juan Camilo Cardenas)

Available for free here: Recommended by Jae B. Cho (and Daniel Citron)


* Networks: an Introduction (Mark Newman).  Recommended by Daniel Citron (and everyone, really. It's actually that good) 
* Dynamical Processes on Complex Networks (Barrat, Barthélemy, Vespignani).  Recommended by Daniel Citron
* Graph Theory (Reinhard Diestel). Great introduction to mathematics/proofs. Recommend by Glenn Magerman
* Modern Graph Theory (Bollobas). Great & more intense introduction to math/proofs. Recommended by Glenn Magerman
* Social and Economic Networks (Matt Jackson). Recommended by Glenn Magerman
* Connections: An Introduction to the Economics of Networks (Sanjeev Goyal). More about game theory on networks. Recommended by Glenn Magerman


* Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul (Giulio Tononi). Recommended by Stefano Gurciullo
* Consciousness as integrated information: a provisional manifesto (Giulio Tononi). Recommended by Stefano Gurciullo

Cognition and Biology

* Mind in Life (Evan Thompson). Recommended by Jelle Bruineberg
* Dynamics in Action (Alicia Juarrero). Recommended by Jelle Bruineberg
* Metabolic Ecology: A Scaling Approach (Sibley, Brown & Kondrik-Brown). Recommonded by Cobain


* Principles of Neural Science (Eric Kandel and others). Recommended by Kleber Neves
* Principles of Neural Design (Peter Sterlin and Simon Laughlin). Recommended by Kleber Neves
* Theoretical Neuroscience (Peter Dayan). Recommended by Tobias Morville
* The Master and His Emissary (Ian McGilchrist). Recommended strongly by Tobias Morville

Origin of Life & the Arrow of Time

* Chance and Necessity (Jacques Monod). Recommended by Tobias Morville
* The End of Certainty (Ilya Prigogine). Recommended by Tobias Morville, seconded by Chris Verzijl
* Time Reborn (Lee Smolin). Recommended by Tobias Morville
* Wonderful Life (Stephen Jay Gould). Recommended by Tobias Morville


* The Sense of Style (Steven Pinker). Recommended by Tobias Morville
* Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking (Daniel Dennett). Recommended by Tobias Morville

Agent Based Modelling

* Agent-based and Individual-based Modeling: A Practical Introduction. (by Steven F. Railsback and Volker Grimm). Recommended by Ilaria Bertazzi.
* Agent-Based Models (Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences) by Nigel Gilbert. Recommended by María Pereda

Social Sciences and Economics

Zipf Distribution of U.S. Firm Sizes (Robert L. Axtell)
120 Million Agents Self-Organize into 6 Million Firms (Robert L. Axtell)

* Growing Artificial Societies- Social Science from the Bottom Up ( by Epstein, Axtell). Recommended by Ilaria Bertazzi
* Complex Economics - Individual and Collective Rationality ( by Kirman). Recommended by Ilaria Bertazzi
* The Microeconomics of Complex Economies -textbook- ( by Elsner, Heinrich, Schwardt). Recommended by Ilaria Bertazzi
* The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves (by Brian Arthur). Recommended by Ilaria Bertazzi