Complexity is the property of a system whose behaviour as a whole emerges as distinct from the simple sum of its individual behaviours. The understanding of complex systems is therefore beyond the linear algebra of classic reductionism and requires either statistical methods or computer simulations

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News and Comment

  • Comments and Opinion |

    Cities are complex environments. Planning interventions that borrow principles from theoretical physics could help to improve peoples' lives.

    • Kevin Pollock
    Nature 531, S64–S66
  • Comments and Opinion |

    Precision medicine demands precise matching of deep genomic and phenotypic models — and the deeper you go, the more you know.

    • Cathryn M. Delude
    Nature 527, S14–S15
  • News and Views |

    Theory suggests that the risk of critical transitions in complex systems can be revealed by generic indicators. A lab study of extinction in plankton populations provides experimental support for that principle. See Letter p. 456

    • Marten Scheffer
    Nature 467, 411–412
  • News and Views |

    Molecular machines containing related protein subunits are common in cells. Reconstruction of ancient proteins suggests that this type of complexity can evolve in the absence of any initial selective advantage. See Letter p.360

    • W. Ford Doolittle
    Nature 481, 270–271