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Alexander I. Kovacs
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies / National Institute of Informatics
Tokyo, Japan

Registered: Aug 2004
Posts: 1

Proper Name for NKS?

What happens if some dude comes up with Yet Another Kind of Science: Will we have to call it YAKS?

But seriously, is there any other established/preferred/proposed way of referring to NKS other than to say, I am doing this New Kind of Science; or, I am trying a new-kind-of-science-approach to X? For my papers, I'd like to have some catchy word, not a phrase.

Is there not some -ism or -ology or -ics (as in mathematics)?

Conversely, what does one call the Old Kind? After all, wasn't it just "science" until The Book came out? So now we seem to have an old way and a new way of doing X, where X is still science.

NKS is not just *a* science: it is a new *kind* of science. But at the same time, what seems to be called Pure NKS, is in the end *a* science (with its own methodology, etc.). Or ain't it?

But what is it called?

More generally, in its "applied form", NKS, as I understand it, is a way of doing science; a philosophical stance toward science; a methodology for science; an approach to science.

But what is it called?

Maybe posing the question the way I do shows confusion on my part to workers more familiar with NKS. If so, then I'd be grateful to have pointed out where my musing has gone awry.


NB. I searched this forum and did some googling to see whether this has been discussed before but gave up rather quickly for dearth of useful keywords. Pointers welcome.

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Old Post 08-14-2004 10:38 AM
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Tony Smith
Meme Media
Melbourne, Australia

Registered: Oct 2003
Posts: 167

The blind man and the elephant

The short answer is that NKS is defined by Wolfram as the science of simple programs.

Of course, there is also a longer answer.

When the precursor fields to NKS became fashionable in the 1980s, one of the great problems was finding terminology which united the players. Places further east in both the US and Europe were more focused on generalising evolution, while those further west were more focused on nonlinearity. There was even acknowledgement of the heritage of general systems theory and of (second order) cybernetics.

The best tool I have found to explore terminology is Google Sets. If you feed in the obvious "complexity", "emergence", "cybernetics" plus any two of many other candidate names, those original three are mostly returned, plus "chaos", but nothing else with any consistency. Clearly "chaos" is not what we are looking for, although it does accurately reflect what most of those smart enough to have created a web page think of the field.

Tony Smith
Complex Systems Analyst
TransForum developer
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Old Post 08-15-2004 12:58 AM
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