Re: virus: Complexity a good in itself?

David McFadzean (
Fri, 23 Jun 1995 15:33:08 -0600

At 04:34 PM 6/14/95 -0600, Duane Daniel Hewitt wrote:

>You could include this on the definitions page. Is this the definition
>that they use at Santa Fe?

The June Sci. Am. mentioned this in the surprisingly critical article,
"From Complexity to Perplexity". There is a text box at the bottom of
p.107 titled Discord over Definitions claiming that a researcher compiled
over 30 different definitions of complexity including the following:

Entropy. Complexity equals the entropy, or disorder, of a system as
measured by thermodynamics.

Information. Complexity equals the capacity of a system to "surprise", or inform, an observer.

Fractal Dimension. The "fuzziness" of a system, the degree of detail it displays at smaller and smaller scales.

Effective Complexity. The degree of "regularity" (rather than randomness) displayed by a system.

Hierarchical Complexity. The diversity displayed by the different levels of a hierarchically structured system.

Grammatical Complexity. The degree of universality of the language required to describe a system.

Thermodynamic Depth. The amount of thermodynamic resources required to put a system together from scratch.

Time Computational Complexity. The time required for a computer to describe a system (or solve a problem).

Spatial Computational Complexity. The amount of computer memory required to describe a system.

Mutual Information. The degree to which one part of a system contains information on, or resembles, other parts.


I'm not sure the definition I offered corresponds to any of the ones above.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Merak Projects Ltd.