System explanations

It is notoriously difficult to describe and explain how stigmergic systems work. This is because the self-organizing phenomenon of stigmergy arises through a positive feedback effect, which can only be explained properly in terms of arcane theories relating to dynamic complexity.

Similarly, it is just as difficult to explain organic systems, especially when they are used in a computer environment. This is because self-organization arises without planning and without algorithms - totally different from the way computer programs are designed. It is particularly a problem for people who work with databases because they always want to put information into a database and cannot imagine a situation where the self-organization creates its own virtual database.

The links on the left are to articles that have been written to try to overcome these problems of comprehension. They use metaphors to convey some of the more abstract ideas involved in stigmergic and organic systems.