(iZone) Computer Science in Science PD: Introduction to Complex Adaptive Systems #4

Reflect on the Science you teach - identify a topic/phenomenon in your subject area that is a complex adaptive system. Which characteristics of a Complex Adaptive System are met by this phenomenon?
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://studio.code.org/s/sciencePD-iZone/stage/3/puzzle/4


Changing into solids, liquids, and gases remind me of this topic.


The Body systems are also a reminder of an adaptive system that is complex yet very adaptable .


The study of weather, particularly the formation of clouds is an example of a complex adaptive system. Clouds are adaptive, they self organize into patterns in response to interactions with agents: Temperature, humidity, energy from the sun. If any element of the system is changed, clouds react/adapt.
The characteristics of the Complex Adaptive System met by the cloud systems are
emergent patterns
non linear
self organizing
feedback loop
chaotic behavior


The basic cell. It must contain all its parts to work in perfect harmony. So simple yet so complex. In addition the process of homeostasis



Complex Adaptive Systems are present when the body is trying to maintain homeostasis by regulating temperature or blood sugar, for example.


Every year I model algebraically the population growth of a rabbit as an exponential function. To connect the growth to the complex adaptive system. I use the example of rabbit growth vs food (grass ) growth. The example shows how the supply of grass adapts to the change in rabbit population growth.


Complex Adaptive System in Science can be connects to market price that is adaptive to the rate of demand and supply.


I’d like my engineering class to run like a complex adaptive system! I am working on developing more “invisible teaching strategies” to facilitate a teacher-less classroom!


A recent video I watched and shared with my STEM students deals with complex adaptive systems. It’s a TED talk with Vijay Kumar explaining his flying robots that can cooperate. The initial inspiration was based on how ants cooperate. He said if you put fig juice on anything, the ants will cooperate and carry it back to the nest if it’s too big for one ant to carry. Ant colonies are a complex adaptive system because they are made up of many individuals, there isn’t one particular ant coordinating the action of others, and the ants react to changes as a group.


Indeed. The body is adaptive, stochastic on a smaller scale, runs via many negative feedback loops, is self organized (with similar cells grouping into tissues, etc.). Is the body leaderless though? I guess all the systems are controlled by the brain so maybe the human body isn’t a complex adaptive system in every category, based on all the definitions provided in the accompanying PDF. Or maybe it is, and I’m looking at it from the wrong perspective.


the organization of food chain or food webs in an ecosystem are complex adaptive systems. It all about the continual flow of energy within that ecosystem


The human body system is complex adaptive system.


Body systems is a great example


The way the organelles of a cell work together is a great example of a complex adaptive system.


In 6th grade the interactions of life unit is related to complex adaptive systems. The way a particular species population growth changes based on predator-prey relationships (food chains and food webs) or through breeding/migration/death are all complex systems that are intertwined.


One of the topics that I teach in Science which may be an example of a complex adaptive system is convection currents, which is the method of heat transfer through the mass motion of fluids. I consider convection currents as an example of complex adaptive systems because first of all, the whole motion of molecules of gas or liquid is “leaderless,” and each part of the system (the molecules), act in a manner, which eventually “turns into the behavior of the group.”

For example, as groups of molecules get heated, their level of activity increases, making them less dense. Consequently, these “energized molecules” being less dense, rise to the top of the space they are occupying.

When these molecules get farther away from the source of heat, they become cooler, less energized and therefore more dense. So they begin sinking. As the molecules sink, they once again get more heat (assuming that the source of heat is at the bottom), causing the pattern of rising and cooling to restart and then again and again.

To sum up, convection currents therefore is a whole system that shows a pattern of rising and sinking of molecules of fluids, because the individual molecules act in accordance to their response to heat or the absence of heat.


The human body is an excellent example of a complex adaptive system which is comprised of many systems which work together to support life


I agree that the cell is an excellent example of a complex adaptive system. Each organelle performs a specific function to ensure the viability of the cell


Ecosystems are what I think of when I think about complex adaptive system. All the biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem allow that ecosystem to exist and reach a state of equilibrium. It would be cool to use computer modeling to show how the introduction of an invasive species would disrupt the balance of that ecosystem and ultimately reach a new (though different balance). Seems like it might also be applicable to climate change, reproduction, weather, and other topics people have mentioned.