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Oakland, CA

American history around the time of the Revolution, figuring out how to marry top-down task-based information architecture processes with bottom-up document-based ones, finding a good dentist in San Francisco Oakland
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The only thing that's surprising is how long it took me to get to reading it. Posted on 07/31/2002.

Recently finished Herbert Simon's The Sciences of the Artificial. Any regular reader of will find lots of interest, for in this modest tome (8 essays, 200 pages), Simon touches on:cognitive psychology; artificial intelligence; memory; design practice; social and urban planning; complexity; self-organization; evolutionary models applied to damn near everything; and organizational dynamics. In some ways, it feels like the kind of book I'd write if I spent 50 years in academia studying whatever it was I wanted to study (which seems to have been Simon's path). From what I can tell, this is a "groundbreaking" work, which is harder to understand, since so many of Simon's ideas have permeated standard thought.

For further proof of how it was only a matter of time before I read this, there's this diagram depicting how Amazon links the book to other similar titles. (thanks bbj)

I've just started Linked: The New Science of Networks, which is getting much play on the blogs. It makes me wonder what Simon would have done had he spent time pursuing that topic.

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Another good book on networks is "Nexus" by Mark Buchanan.

"Linked" focuses more on scale-free networks, which Laszlo and students are famous for. "Nexus" focuses on the Watts-Strogatz small-world discoveries. "Nexus" also includes a chapter on Granovetter -- a sociologist who revealed the strength of 'weak ties' -- very cool stuff.

Read 'em both -- lot to learn about networks, much of it counter-intuitive.

Posted by Valdis @ 08/01/2002 01:50 PM PST [link to this comment]

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