Information Theory for Complex Systems

All systems in nature can be considered from the perspective that they process information. Information is registered in the state of a system and its elements, implicitly and invisibly. As elements interact, information is transferred. Indeed, bits of information about the state of one element will travel – imperfectly – to the state of the other element, forming its new state. This storage and transfer of information, possibly between levels of a multi level system, is imperfect due to randomness or noise. From this viewpoint, a system can be formalized as a collection of bits that is organized according to its rules of dynamics and its topology of interactions. Mapping out exactly how these bits of information percolate through the system reveals fundamental insights in how the parts orchestrate to produce the properties of the system.

A theory of information processing would be capable of defining a set of universal properties of dynamical multi level complex systems, which describe and compare the dynamics of diverse complex systems ranging from social interaction to brain networks, from financial markets to biomedicine. Each possible combination of rules of dynamics and topology of interactions, with disparate semantics could be translated into the language of information processing which in turn will provide a lingua franca for complex systems.

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