"General system theory, therefore, is a general science of "wholeness...The meaning of the somewhat mystical expression, "The whole is more that the sum of its parts" is simply that constitutive characteristics are not explanable from the characteristics of the isolated parts. The characteristics of the complex, therefore, appear as "new" or "emergent"..." Ludwig von Bertalanffy from 'General Systems Theory'

Systems and Information Theory Links:

Bell Labs - Information Theory History

IEEE Information Theory Society

Information Theory and Creationism - combats the perversion of the science, good links.

Information Theory and Music

Understanding General Systems Theory - suprising good overview, for nurses ! 

Structure and Change in Complex Systems - odd and dated, but some interesting thoughts on Heirarchy and Complexity

Principia Cybernetica - I haven't figured this one out yet !


Systems and Information Theory Books:

General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Application * - Ludwig von Bertalanffy - An updated classic, covering his work from the 1930's to the 1960's. General system theory is, in a way, a general science of wholeness which isn't new, but Bertalanffy makes it an authentic science.

An Introduction to General Systems Thinking * - Gerald Weinberg - Another timeless classic. He outlines the general systems theory approach,  the principle of indifference,  various aspects of making observations, system behaviour, and some general systems questions.

"A system is simply a way of looking at the world... Classification of all systems into three types: Determinate, Medium-number, and Statistical."

On the Design of Stable Systems - My introduction to Weinberg, and it's amazing how often he has cropped up in my reading and library ever since.

Grammatical Man: Information, Entropy, Language and Life - Jeremy Campbell - An overview of the development of information theory. Explores the relationship between Shannon's communication theory, entropy, DNA coding, cell development and the evolution of intelligence. A good explanation of communication theory and entropy as it applies to information theory.


Darwin Among the Machines: The Evolution of Global Intelligence * - George Dyson - An account of the evolution of machines and thoughts about machines, woven into a story about the evolution of intelligence.

Living Systems - James G. Miller - IMHO It is one of the most important books of the 20th century. It certainly expanded my universe ! See more about the basic concepts on my Living SubSystems Page.

 Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid - Douglas R. Hofstadter - Basically about Self Referential Systems, done in a beautiful style. And the best explanation of how DNA and RNA work together to produce proteins I think I will ever see.



Guide to Dave's Book Recommendations...