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Sync

"Nonlinear dynamics is central to the future of science. Chaos theory revealed that simple nonlinear systems could behave in extremely complicated ways, and showed us how to understand them with pictures instead of equations. Complexity theory taight us that many simple units interacting according to simple rules could generate unexpected order. But where complexity theory has largely failed is in explaining where the order comes from, in a deep mathematical sense, and in tying the theory to real phenomena in a convincing way. For these reasons it had little impace on the thinking of most mathematicians and scientists.

Here, it seems to me, is where sync has been uniquely successful. As one of the oldest and most elementary parts of nonlinear science ... sync has offered penetrating insights into everything from cardiac arrhytmias to superconductivity, from sleep cycles to the stability of teh power grid. It is grounded in rigorous mathematical ideas; it has passed the test of experiment; and it describes and unifies a remarkably wide range of cooperative behaviour in living and nonliving matter, at every scale of length from the subatomic to the cosmic. ASide from its importance and intrinsic fascination, I believe that sync also provides a crucial first step for what's coming next in the study of complex nonlinear systems, where the osciallators are eventually going to be replaced by genes and cells, companies and people."


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