Science NewsCurated by RSF Research Staff Home > Science News > Emergence of complexity in self-organizing systems A team of scientists at Bilkent University have designed the simplest experimental system to date to identify the minimum requirements for the emergence of complexity. Their work is reported in the current issue of Nature Communications. While it is universally recognized that human beings are complex systems living a complex life in a complex environment, very little is known about how complexity emerges and how it can be controlled. Much of scientists' understanding of this matter comes from model systems such as cellular automata, which are so artificial that they have little relevance to actual physical systems. In contrast, real-life systems are so complicated that it is difficult to pinpoint the essential factors for the emergence of complex dynamics. The work by the Bilkent researchers has revealed that simply shining a laser onto a colloidal solution is enough to observe a very rich set of complex behaviors, showing that particles can form autocatalytic aggregates that can self-regulate, self-heal, self-replicate and migrate. Quite similar to living organisms, these aggregates can also take very many different patterns that compete for limited resources, which often ends with the survival of the fittest and the "death" of less successful competitors. Dr. Serim Ilday of the Department of Physics, who is the lead author of the paper, explained the background of the study in this way: "Nature is the ultimate source of complexity, and we know that nature does not micromanage complexity. Nature sets the rules and lets the dynamics of the system handle the rest of the details. We wanted to adopt this perspective and set two general, simple rules for the system to obey: Convective forces created by the laser will promote formation and growth of the aggregates, and the inherent strong Brownian motion [random motion of particles in a fluid] of the particles will work against it. The rest is orchestrated by controlling these positive and negative feedback mechanisms using only two parameters: laser power and beam position." Read more at: Article: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-minimum-requirements-emergence-complexity.html#jCp Measuring gravitational waves to see inside starsSeptember 20, 2017New progress in Quantum Machine LearningSeptember 19, 2017The emergent physics of animal locomotionSeptember 19, 2017Water Droplets SuperpropulsionSeptember 18, 2017Supernova observations helping understand general relativitySeptember 18, 2017 Sharing is caring - please share this with your friends: Facebook Twitter If you like this content, you will love the Resonance Academy.