Emergence is the arising of rich and coherent macroscopic structures from numerous repetitions of simple elementary interactions among large numbers of microscopic particles. An emergent system is characterized by a property of wholeness that is not contained in its generative rules.

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    Neuroscience is poised to collect Big Data sets. In this Commentary, the authors argue that, to exploit its full potential, there need to be ways to standardize, integrate and synthesize diverse types of data and that this will require a cultural shift to a central role for theorists in neuroscience research.

    • Terrence J Sejnowski
    • , Patricia S Churchland
    •  & J Anthony Movshon
    Nature Neuroscience 17, 1440–1441