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Self-organization, Complex system, Flow network, Variational principles, Principle of least unit action, Principle of most total action, Positive feedback mechanism, Ordinary differential equations


This paper proposes a variational approach to describe the evolution of organization of complex systems from first principles, as increased efficiency of physical action. Most simply stated, physical action is the product of the energy and time necessary for motion. When complex systems are modeled as flow networks, this efficiency is defined as a decrease of action for one element to cross between two nodes, or endpoints of motion - a principle of least unit action. We find a connection with another principle that of most total action, or a tendency for increase of the total action of a system. This increase provides more energy and time for minimization of the constraints to motion in order to decrease unit action, and therefore to increase organization. Also, with the decrease of unit action in a system, its capacity for total amount of action increases. We present a model of positive feedback between action efficiency and the total amount of action in a complex system, based on a system of ordinary differential equations, which leads to an exponential growth with time of each and a power law relation between the two. We present an agreement of our model with data for core processing units of computers. This approach can help to describe, measure, manage, design and predict future behavior of complex systems to achieve the highest rates of self-organization and robustness.




This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Georgiev, G.Y., Henry, K., Bates, T., Gombos, E., Casey, A., Daly, M., Vinod, A., and Lee, H. 2015. Mechanism of Organization Increase in Complex Systems. Complexity 21.2: 18-28, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.


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