An information-theoretic approach to self-organisation: Emergence of complex interdependencies in coupled dynamical systems


Self-organisation lies at the core of fundamental but still unresolved scientific questions, and holds the promise of de-centralised paradigms crucial for future technological developments. While self-organising processes have been traditionally explained by the tendency of dynamical systems to evolve towards specific configurations, or attractors, we see self-organisation as a consequence of the interdependencies that those attractors induce. Building on this intuition, in this work we develop a theoretical framework for understanding and quantifying self-organisation based on coupled dynamical systems and multivariate information theory. We propose a metric of global structural strength that identifies when self-organisation appears, and a multi-layered decomposition that explains the emergent structure in terms of redundant and synergistic interdependencies. We illustrate our framework on elementary cellular automata, showing how it can detect and characterise the emergence of complex structures.

Entropy, 20(10)
Pedro Mediano
Pedro Mediano
Coffee-powered beast-machine

Computational neuroscientist interested in synergy, information theory, and complexity.