randomly connected binary network

The concept of self-organization originated in the early years of cybernetics. In an attempt to understand the complexity of our brains, experiments by Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts introduced idealized neurons represented by binary switching elements. Massive numbers of these elements were tied together in random fashion to produce highly complex networks. During simulation, to their great amazement, they discovered that after a short time of random flickering, some ordered patterns would emerge in most networks. This spontaneous emergence of order became known as 'self-organization'.

In some form or another the principles of self-organization can be used to describe almost every living system, from the living cell to the 3 pound fiber bundle we call our brain.

This humble Flash assembly of a mere 42 switching elements is an infinitesimal simulation of actual self-organizing systems, yet patterns and strange behavior can still be seen in it's execution.

August 9, 2001

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