From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki
I am going to post primarily to the google group, but I have a few questions about structure that grow out of its use in architecture.
1. Degree of Structure: So far, we have been discussing STRUCTURE as something that is or isn't present. In our discussion the point was made that a truly random input is only useful as a thought experiment and that in practice its structure can be thought of as the randomizing algorithm. This fits with my experience in design. It has always seemed more useful to talk about degree of structure rather than whether it exists. This may seem trivial, but I think it would be nice if our definition helps make distinctions that are useful in our respective areas.
2. modularity: I think that we all agreed that modularity is an important attribute of some structures. It allows for hierarchy; structures compression other structures rather than raw input. I would like to propose that this is important enough to be included as a fundamental attribute of structure in our definition. In the Turing thought experiment the inputs broke down into individual bytes, but in practice the elements of input to be compressed or structured are structures in an of themselves (actually I think that the inputs are described as tiny Turing machines in one readings). Perhaps we can talk about degree of modularity within set boundaries of scale (since it is not interesting to endlessly unpack a series of matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls). This is all pretty vague and I would like to hear what people think.
3. Structure as inter-subjective or participatory: I don't know which bit of jargon is better, but, in my experience, structure is something we agree upon as a social group. This is in contrast to an empirical or scientific argument for structure that can be objectively identified and expected to persist through time (like the grid of columns in the parallax analogy). Any opinions about this? Does it sound like a distinction that is significant?