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Complexity and the Art of Public PolicySolving Society's Problems from the Bottom Up$
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David Colander and Roland Kupers

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691169132

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691169132.001.0001

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A New Kind of Science?

(p.109) Chapter 7 Complexity
Complexity and the Art of Public Policy

David Colander

Roland Kupers

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on Stephen Wolfram, an early advocate of the importance of complexity science. He founded the Journal of Complex Systems back in 1987, and saw the transformational aspect of computer analysis long before it was generally understood. But his ego and his disdain for standard scientific conventions kept him and the complexity science he favored outside the mainstream scientific establishment that discourages such grandiose claims. In 2002, his self-published book A New Kind of Science was seen by the scientific community as the delusions of a former wunderkind. It is argued that Wolfram’s book represents the insights of a brilliant visionary about “a new tool of science”—computational tools that earlier scientists could hardly have imagined. These computational tools provide not only new tools for analysis, but also a new vision of how to frame thinking about complex processes. It is the blending of the computational tools and the vision that makes up complexity science.

Keywords:   complexity science, Stephen Wolfram, computational tools

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