Chapter 1: Introduction to the strategy and methods of complex systems
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The structure of scientific inquiry is being transformed by broad relevance of the strategies and methods of complex systems science for understanding physical, biological and social systems. Disciplinary and cross-disciplinary interactions are giving way to trans-disciplinary and unified efforts to address the relevance of large amounts of information to description, understanding and control of complex systems. From the study of biomolecular interactions to the workings of the mind to global socio-economic risks, pandemics and environmental disasters, complexity has arisen as a unifying feature of challenges to understanding and action. In this arena, information, structure, function and action are entangled. New approaches that recognize the importance of collective patterns of behaviour, the multi-scale space of possibilities, and evolutionary or adaptive processes that select systems or behaviours that can be effective are central to advancing our understanding and capabilities.