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Describes the theory of self-organised criticality, an extension of complexity and chaos theories. Bak presents an accessible general theory of complexity which can help to understand nature, and can be applied to any complex system from weather to avalanches. `This book is essential reading for those interested in complex systems in general', Philip Anderson, Nature.
1 Complexity and Criticality.- 2 The Discovery of Self-Organized Criticality.- 3 The Sandpile Paradigm.- 4 Real Sandpiles and Landscape Formation.- 5 Earthquakes, Starquakes, and Solar Flares.- 6 The "Game of Life": Complexity Is Criticality.- 7 Is Life a Self-Organized Critical Phenomenon?.- 8 Mass Extinctions and Punctuated Equilibria in a Simple Model of Evolution.- 9 Theory of the Punctuated Equilibrium Model.- 10 The Brain.- 11 On Economics and Traffic Jams.