Complex Adaptive Systems

Complex adaptive systems (CAS) are characterized by four key elements. First, they are made up of units that are able to sense and react to their environment. In CAS terms, these units are called agents. Second, CAS agents are autonomous; that is, each agent acts on a set of internal decision rules, without purposive collaboration with other agents. Third, a CAS is made up of a large number of interacting agents, usually with rich opportunity for the action of any given agent to affect others. Finally, agents can vary in their level of internal complexity. For instance, in a large company, the agents may be the company's subsidiaries, divisions within the subsidiaries, departments within the divisions, work groups within the departments, or people who make ...

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