Turtles, termites and traffic jams: explorations in massively parallel microworlds
Turtles, termites and traffic jams: explorations in massively parallel microworlds
Turtles, termites and traffic jams: explorations in massively parallel microworlds
Type: Elektronik Buch
Veröffentlicht: 1994
Verlag: MIT Press
Seitenanzahl: 170
Format: djvu
Sprache: English
ISBN-10: 0262181622
ISBN-13: 9780262181624
Nutzer-Bewertung: 3.6667 von 5 Sternen! (3 Stimmen)

Does every group have a leader? Does every pattern have a central cause? Most people tend to think so. Increasingly, decentralized models are being chosen for the organizations and technologies they construct in the world, and for the theories they construct about the world. But even as ideas about decentralization spread throughout the culture, there is a deep-seated resistance to them. This text examines how and why this is so and describes innovative computational tools and activities that can help people (even young children) develop new ways of thinking about decentralization, with examples in many different domains. This wide-ranging exploration into the non-intuitive world of decentralized systems and self-organizing phenomena brings together ideas from computer science, education, systems theory, and artificial life, with the aim of making the notion of self-organization more accessible. Using a new massively parallel programming language called StarLogo, Mitchel Resnick shows how the actions and interactions of thousands of artificial "creatures" can be controlled on the computer screen. For example, a user might write simple programs to describe the actions of thousands of artificial ants, then observe the complex patterns in the ant colony that arise from all of the interactions. Resnick describes how high school students have used StarLogo to create new types of computer simulations, examines how their thinking changed in the process, and concludes by proposing heuristics for thinking about decentralized systems.

Frank Carver | 3 von 5 Sternen!
27.09.2003

interesting, but describes an old version of the software

This is a book describing the research of a team at MIT using a version of the educational language "Logo". Running in a simple graphical environment which supports multiple parallel operation of code in the same shared space. Write a few lines of code for an "ant", then let 1000 of them loose. The current version of this "StarLogo" system is written in Java, and available as a free download for anyone to play with.The use of Logo is both a strength and a weakness of the approach. The strength is that the code is concise and easy to understand. The weakness is that there is only one source of the software, and anyone wishing to try it is limited to the available download. This would not be such a limitation if the book described the same version, but unfortunately things have moved on a lot since the book was written, and few (if any) of the examples will work without alteration.As well as the development of the StarLogo system, the book covers experiments in emergent behaviour. Typical sections include how parameter and environment changes can affect the growth and development of simulated ant colonies, and a theoretical basis for those "phantom traffic jams" we have all experienced.This book is certainly interesting if you are interested in developing parallel software simulations, or if you are interested in marginal computer languages, but don't expect the code to work without effort.

A. Franke | 3 von 5 Sternen!
24.07.2001

A fascinating topic, but may leave you wanting more

I picked up this book while browsing the Computer Science section. The first line on the back cover drew me in: "How does a bird flock keep its movements so graceful and synchronized?" Unfortunately, this question (and others similar) was never really answered in the book. Rather than an intellectual or philosophical discussion of how organized behaviors develop from non-centrally-controlled systems in real life, the book seems to focus on why it happens in simplified computer simulations. The book is really about looking at organized behaviors from a decentralized perspective - using computer simulations to aid in this perspective. (Termite mounds, for example, aren't created based interface, though, is very cool - it allows you to place buttons, sliders and other tools to control the simulation and dynamically interact with the program in real time. Excellent for exploring these microworlds!!!The book also discusses a lot about the author's interactions with children while developing StarLogo programs. I found these discussions very interesting, but they seemed to focus on how we like to perceive organized behaviors as centrally controlled (versus individually controlled). As a result, much of the book was about why a non-centralized perspective is important rather than how organization is actually formed from non-centralized communities. Overall it is a very interesting and well-organized book. Only three stars because (1) it wasn't what I expected - perhaps the subtitle would have been more descriptive as "analyzing simple computer simulations where organized behavior results from systems with no centralized control," but I guess that would have been too wordy. And, (2) the software was not easy to find, and it was not fully compatible with the code in the book. (A version of the software compatible with the code in the book shoud be made available - even if it's since been upgraded.) And finally, (3) the book seems to be rushed toward the end. (The last chapter, for example, where the author "looks ahead" is only two pages long.) Overall, it's a great book, and it inspires a lot of thinking, but it left me wanting a bit more...

Michael J Edelman | 5 von 5 Sternen!
31.05.2000

Experimental complexiry for everyone

When Papert created the LOGO computer language, it was with the idea of creating a tool simple enough for children to use that could nontheless teach them very power notions about algorithms and the power of computing. With Star LOGO, Mitchell Resnick has created a equally simple, yet unbelievably powerful tool that can be used to experiment with ideas of complexity."Termites..." is about how complex behaviors can arise from very simple systems, and to that end Resnick provides a number of case histories and simple programs that demonstrate how conceptually complex systems can be simulated using only a few rules. Phenomena as diverse as the movement of traffic james, pile making while still fascinating to an adult.

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