Self-organization, also called (in the social sciences) spontaneous order, is a process where some form of overall order arises from local interactions between parts of an initially disordered system. The process can be spontaneous when sufficient energy is available, not needing control by any external agent. It is often triggered by random fluctuations, amplified by positive feedback. The resulting organization is wholly decentralized, distributed over all the components of the system. As such, the organization is typically robust and able to survive or self-repair substantial perturbation. Chaos theory discusses self-organization in terms of islands of predictability in a sea of chaotic unpredictability.
Self-organization occurs in many physical, chemical, biological, robotic, and cognitive systems. Examples of self-organization include crystallization, thermal convection of fluids, chemical oscillation, animal swarming, neural circuits, and artificial neural networks.
Self-organization is realized in the physics of non-equilibrium processes, and in chemical reactions, where it is often described as self-assembly. The concept has proven useful in biology, from molecular to ecosystem level. Cited examples of self-organizing behaviour also appear in the literature of many other disciplines, both in the natural sciences and in the social sciences such as economics or anthropology. Self-organization has also been observed in mathematical systems such as cellular automata. Self-organization is an example of the related concept of emergence.
Self-organization relies on four basic ingredients:
- strong dynamical non-linearity, often though not necessarily involving positive and negative feedback
- balance of exploitation and exploration
- multiple interactions
- availability of energy (to overcome natural tendency toward entropy, or disorder)
The cybernetician William Ross Ashby formulated the original principle of self-organization in 1947. It states that any deterministic dynamic system automatically evolves towards a state of equilibrium that can be described in terms of an attractor in a basin of surrounding states. Once there, the further evolution of the system is constrained to remain in the attractor. This constraint implies a form of mutual dependency or coordination between its constituent components or subsystems. In Ashby's terms, each subsystem has adapted to the environment formed by all other subsystems.
The cybernetician Heinz von Foerster formulated the principle of "order from noise" in 1960. It notes that self-organization is facilitated by random perturbations ("noise") that let the system explore a variety of states in its state space. This increases the chance that the system will arrive into the basin of a "strong" or "deep" attractor, from which it then quickly enters the attractor itself. The biophysicist Henri Atlan developed this concept by proposing the principle of "complexity from noise" (French: le principe de complexité par le bruit) first in the 1972 book L'organisation biologique et la théorie de l'information and then in the 1979 book Entre le cristal et la fumée. The thermodynamicist Ilya Prigogine formulated a similar principle as "order through fluctuations" or "order out of chaos". It is applied in the method of simulated annealing for problem solving and machine learning.
The idea that the dynamics of a system can lead to an increase in its organization has a long history. The ancient atomists such as Democritus and Lucretius believed that a designing intelligence is unnecessary to create order in nature, arguing that given enough time and space and matter, order emerges by itself.
Immanuel Kant used the term "self-organizing" in his 1790 Critique of Judgment, where he argued that teleology is a meaningful concept only if there exists such an entity whose parts or "organs" are simultaneously ends and means. Such a system of organs must be able to behave as if it has a mind of its own, that is, it is capable of governing itself.
In such a natural product as this every part is thought as owing its presence to the agency of all the remaining parts, and also as existing for the sake of the others and of the whole, that is as an instrument, or organ... The part must be an organ producing the other parts—each, consequently, reciprocally producing the others... Only under these conditions and upon these terms can such a product be an organized and self-organized being, and, as such, be called a physical end.
Sadi Carnot (1796–1832) and Rudolf Clausius (1822–1888) discovered the second law of thermodynamics in the 19th century. It states that total entropy, sometimes understood as disorder, will always increase over time in an isolated system. This means that a system cannot spontaneously increase its order without an external relationship that decreases order elsewhere in the system (e.g. through consuming the low-entropy energy of a battery and diffusing high-entropy heat).
18th-century thinkers had sought to understand the "universal laws of form" to explain the observed forms of living organisms. This idea became associated with Lamarckism and fell into disrepute until the early 20th century, when D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson (1860–1948) attempted to revive it.
The psychiatrist and engineer W. Ross Ashby introduced the term "self-organizing" to contemporary science in 1947. It was taken up by the cyberneticians Heinz von Foerster, Gordon Pask, Stafford Beer; and von Foerster organized a conference on "The Principles of Self-Organization" at the University of Illinois' Allerton Park in June, 1960 which led to a series of conferences on Self-Organizing Systems. Norbert Wiener took up the idea in the second edition of his Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (1961).
Self-organization was associated[by whom?] with general systems theory in the 1960s, but did not become commonplace in the scientific literature until physicists Hermann Haken et al. and complex systems researchers adopted it in a greater picture from cosmology Erich Jantsch,[clarification needed] chemistry with dissipative system, biology and sociology as autopoiesis to system thinking in the following 1980s (Santa Fe Institute) and 1990s (complex adaptive system), until our days with the disruptive emerging technologies profounded by a rhizomatic network theory.
Around 2008-2009, a concept of guided self-organization started to take shape. This approach aims to regulate self-organization for specific purposes, so that a dynamical system may reach specific attractors or outcomes. The regulation constrains a self-organizing process within a complex system by restricting local interactions between the system components, rather than following an explicit control mechanism or a global design blueprint. The desired outcomes, such as increases in the resultant internal structure and/or functionality, are achieved by combining task-independent global objectives with task-dependent constraints on local interactions.
The many self-organizing phenomena in physics include phase transitions and spontaneous symmetry breaking such as spontaneous magnetization and crystal growth in classical physics, and the laser, superconductivity and Bose–Einstein condensation in quantum physics. It is found in self-organized criticality in dynamical systems, in tribology, in spin foam systems, and in loop quantum gravity, river basins and deltas, in dendritic solidification (snow flakes), and in turbulent structure.
Self-organization in chemistry includes molecular self-assembly, reaction-diffusion systems and oscillating reactions, autocatalytic networks, liquid crystals, grid complexes, colloidal crystals, self-assembled monolayers, micelles, microphase separation of block copolymers, and Langmuir-Blodgett films.
Self-organization in biology can be observed in spontaneous folding of proteins and other biomacromolecules, formation of lipid bilayer membranes, pattern formation and morphogenesis in developmental biology, the coordination of human movement, social behaviour in insects (bees, ants, termites), and mammals, flocking behaviour in birds and fish.
The mathematical biologist Stuart Kauffman and other structuralists have suggested that self-organization may play roles alongside natural selection in three areas of evolutionary biology, namely population dynamics, molecular evolution, and morphogenesis. However, this does not take into account the essential role of energy in driving biochemical reactions in cells. The systems of reactions in any cell are self-catalyzing but not simply self-organizing as they are thermodynamically open systems relying on a continuous input of energy. Self-organization is not an alternative to natural selection, but it constrains what evolution can do and provides mechanisms such as the self-assembly of membranes which evolution then exploits.
Phenomena from mathematics and computer science such as cellular automata, random graphs, and some instances of evolutionary computation and artificial life exhibit features of self-organization. In swarm robotics, self-organization is used to produce emergent behavior. In particular the theory of random graphs has been used as a justification for self-organization as a general principle of complex systems. In the field of multi-agent systems, understanding how to engineer systems that are capable of presenting self-organized behavior is an active research area. Optimization algorithms can be considered self-organizing because they aim to find the optimal solution to a problem. If the solution is considered as a state of the iterative system, the optimal solution is the selected, converged structure of the system. Self-organizing networks include small-world networks and scale-free networks. These emerge from bottom-up interactions, unlike top-down hierarchical networks within organizations, which are not self-organizing. Cloud computing systems have been argued to be inherently self-organising, but while they have some autonomy, they are not self-managing as they do not have the goal of reducing their own complexity.
Norbert Wiener regarded the automatic serial identification of a black box and its subsequent reproduction as self-organization in cybernetics. The importance of phase locking or the "attraction of frequencies", as he called it, is discussed in the 2nd edition of his Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. K. Eric Drexler sees self-replication as a key step in nano and universal assembly. By contrast, the four concurrently connected galvanometers of W. Ross Ashby's Homeostat hunt, when perturbed, to converge on one of many possible stable states. Ashby used his state counting measure of variety to describe stable states and produced the "Good Regulator" theorem which requires internal models for self-organized endurance and stability (e.g. Nyquist stability criterion). Warren McCulloch proposed "Redundancy of Potential Command" as characteristic of the organization of the brain and human nervous system and the necessary condition for self-organization. Heinz von Foerster proposed Redundancy, R=1 − H/Hmax, where H is entropy. In essence this states that unused potential communication bandwidth is a measure of self-organization.
In the 1970s Stafford Beer considered self-organization necessary for autonomy in persisting and living systems. He applied his viable system model to management. It consists of five parts: the monitoring of performance of the survival processes (1), their management by recursive application of regulation (2), homeostatic operational control (3) and development (4) which produce maintenance of identity (5) under environmental perturbation. Focus is prioritized by an alerting "algedonic loop" feedback: a sensitivity to both pain and pleasure produced from under-performance or over-performance relative to a standard capability.
In the 1990s Gordon Pask argued that von Foerster's H and Hmax were not independent, but interacted via countably infinite recursive concurrent spin processes which he called concepts. His strict definition of concept "a procedure to bring about a relation" permitted his theorem "Like concepts repel, unlike concepts attract" to state a general spin-based principle of self-organization. His edict, an exclusion principle, "There are No Doppelgangers" means no two concepts can be the same. After sufficient time, all concepts attract and coalesce as pink noise. The theory applies to all organizationally closed or homeostatic processes that produce enduring and coherent products which evolve, learn and adapt.
The self-organizing behaviour of social animals and the self-organization of simple mathematical structures both suggest that self-organization should be expected in human society. Tell-tale signs of self-organization are usually statistical properties shared with self-organizing physical systems. Examples such as critical mass, herd behaviour, groupthink and others, abound in sociology, economics, behavioral finance and anthropology.
In social theory, the concept of self-referentiality has been introduced as a sociological application of self-organization theory by Niklas Luhmann (1984). For Luhmann the elements of a social system are self-producing communications, i.e. a communication produces further communications and hence a social system can reproduce itself as long as there is dynamic communication. For Luhmann human beings are sensors in the environment of the system. Luhmann developed an evolutionary theory of Society and its subsystems, using functional analyses and systems theory.
In economics, a market economy is sometimes said to be self-organizing. Paul Krugman has written on the role that market self-organization plays in the business cycle in his book "The Self Organizing Economy". Friedrich Hayek coined the term catallaxy to describe a "self-organizing system of voluntary co-operation", in regards to the spontaneous order of the free market economy. Neo-classical economists hold that imposing central planning usually makes the self-organized economic system less efficient. On the other end of the spectrum, economists consider that market failures are so significant that self-organization produces bad results and that the state should direct production and pricing. Most economists adopt an intermediate position and recommend a mixture of market economy and command economy characteristics (sometimes called a mixed economy). When applied to economics, the concept of self-organization can quickly become ideologically imbued.
Enabling others to "learn how to learn" is often taken to mean instructing them how to submit to being taught. Self-organised learning (S.O.L.) denies that "the expert knows best" or that there is ever "the one best method", insisting instead on "the construction of personally significant, relevant and viable meaning" to be tested experientially by the learner. This may be collaborative, and more rewarding personally. It is seen as a lifelong process, not limited to specific learning environments (home, school, university) or under the control of authorities such as parents and professors. It needs to be tested, and intermittently revised, through the personal experience of the learner. It need not be restricted by either consciousness or language. Fritjof Capra argued that it is poorly recognised within psychology and education. It may be related to cybernetics as it involves a negative feedback control loop, or to systems theory. It can be conducted as a learning conversation or dialogue between learners or within one person.
The self-organizing behavior of drivers in traffic flow determines almost all the spatiotemporal behavior of traffic, such as traffic breakdown at a highway bottleneck, highway capacity, and the emergence of moving traffic jams. In 1996–2002 these complex self-organizing effects were explained by Boris Kerner's three-phase traffic theory.
Most scientists would agree with the critical view expressed in Problems of Biological Physics (Springer Verlag, 1981) by the biophysicist L. A. Blumenfeld, when he wrote: "The meaningful macroscopic ordering of biological structure does not arise due to the increase of certain parameters or a system above their critical values. These structures are built according to program-like complicated architectural structures, the meaningful information created during many billions of years of chemical and biological evolution being used." Life is a consequence of microscopic, not macroscopic, organization.
Of course, Blumenfeld does not answer the further question of how those program-like structures emerge in the first place. His explanation leads directly to infinite regress.
In short, they [Prigogine and Stengers] maintain that time irreversibility is not derived from a time-independent microworld, but is itself fundamental. The virtue of their idea is that it resolves what they perceive as a "clash of doctrines" about the nature of time in physics. Most physicists would agree that there is neither empirical evidence to support their view, nor is there a mathematical necessity for it. There is no "clash of doctrines." Only Prigogine and a few colleagues hold to these speculations which, in spite of their efforts, continue to live in the twilight zone of scientific credibility.
In theology, Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) in his Summa Theologica assumes a teleological created universe in rejecting the idea that something can be a self-sufficient cause of its own organization:
Since nature works for a determinate end under the direction of a higher agent, whatever is done by nature must needs be traced back to God, as to its first cause. So also whatever is done voluntarily must also be traced back to some higher cause other than human reason or will, since these can change or fail; for all things that are changeable and capable of defect must be traced back to an immovable and self-necessary first principle, as was shown in the body of the Article.
- For related history, see Aram Vartanian, Diderot and Descartes.
- Betzler, S. B.; Wisnet, A.; Breitbach, B.; Mitterbauer, C.; Weickert, J.; Schmidt-Mende, L.; Scheu, C. (2014). "Template-free synthesis of novel, highly-ordered 3D hierarchical Nb3O7(OH) superstructures with semiconductive and photoactive properties" (PDF). Journal of Materials Chemistry A. 2 (30): 12005. doi:10.1039/C4TA02202E.
- Glansdorff, P., Prigogine, I. (1971). Thermodynamic Theory of Structure, Stability and Fluctuations, Wiley-Interscience, London. ISBN 0-471-30280-5
- Witzany, G (2014). "Biological Self-Organization". International Journal of Signs and Semiotic Systems. 3: 1–11.
- Compare: Camazine, Scott (2003). Self-organization in Biological Systems. Princeton studies in complexity (reprint ed.). Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691116242. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
- Ilachinski, Andrew (2001). Cellular Automata: A Discrete Universe. World Scientific. p. 247. ISBN 9789812381835.
We have already seen ample evidence for what is arguably the single most impressive general property of CA, namely their capacity for self-organization
- Feltz, Bernard; et al. (2006). Self-organization and Emergence in Life Sciences. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-402-03916-4.
- Bonabeau, Eric; Dorigo, Marco; Theraulaz, Guy (1999). Swarm intelligence: from natural to artificial systems. OUP USA. pp. 9–11. ISBN 978-0-19-513159-8.
- Ashby, W. R. (1947). "Principles of the Self-Organizing Dynamic System". The Journal of General Psychology. 37 (2): 125–28. doi:10.1080/00221309.1947.9918144. PMID 20270223.
- Ashby, W. R. (1962). "Principles of the self-organizing system", pp. 255–78 in Principles of Self-Organization. Heinz von Foerster and George W. Zopf, Jr. (eds.) U.S. Office of Naval Research.
- Von Foerster, H. (1960). "On self-organizing systems and their environments", pp. 31–50 in Self-organizing systems. M.C. Yovits and S. Cameron (eds.), Pergamon Press, London
- See occurrences on Google Books.
- François, Charles, ed. (2011) . International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2nd ed.). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. p. 107. ISBN 3-1109-6801-0. ISBN 978-3-110-96801-9.
- See occurrences on Google Books.
- Nicolis, G. and Prigogine, I. (1977). Self-organization in nonequilibrium systems: From dissipative structures to order through fluctuations. Wiley, New York.
- Prigogine, I. and Stengers, I. (1984). Order out of chaos: Man's new dialogue with nature. Bantam Books.
- Ahmed, Furqan; Tirkkonen, Olav (January 2016). "Applied Soft Computing". Applied Soft Computing. 38: 762–70. doi:10.1016/j.asoc.2015.10.028.
- Palmer, Ada (October 2014). Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-72557-7.
Ada Palmer explores how Renaissance readers, such as Machiavelli, Pomponio Leto, and Montaigne, actually ingested and disseminated Lucretius, ... and shows how ideas of emergent order and natural selection, so critical to our current thinking, became embedded in Europe’s intellectual landscape before the seventeenth century.
- German Aesthetic. CUP Archive. pp. 64–. GGKEY:TFTHBB91ZH2.
- Carnot, S. (1824/1986). Reflections on the motive power of fire, Manchester University Press, Manchester UK, ISBN 0-7190-1741-6
- Clausius, R. (1850). "Ueber die bewegende Kraft der Wärme und die Gesetze, welche sich daraus für die Wärmelehre selbst ableiten Lassen". Annalen der Physik. 79: 368–97, 500–24. Bibcode:1850AnP...155..500C. doi:10.1002/andp.18501550403. Translated into English: Clausius, R. (July 1851). "On the Moving Force of Heat, and the Laws regarding the Nature of Heat itself which are deducible therefrom". London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science. 4th. 2 (VIII): 1–21, 102–19. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Ruse, Michael (2013). "17. From Organicism to Mechanism-and Halfway Back?". In Henning, Brian G.; Scarfe, Adam (eds.). Beyond Mechanism: Putting Life Back Into Biology. Lexington Books. p. 419.
- Asaro, P. (2007). "Heinz von Foerster and the Bio-Computing Movements of the 1960s" in Albert Müller and Karl H. Müller (eds.) An Unfinished Revolution? Heinz von Foerster and the Biological Computer Laboratory BCL 1958–1976. Vienna, Austria: Edition Echoraum.
- As an indication of the increasing importance of this concept, when queried with the keyword self-organ*, Dissertation Abstracts finds nothing before 1954, and only four entries before 1970. There were 17 in the years 1971–1980; 126 in 1981–1990; and 593 in 1991–2000.
- Phys.org, Self-organizing robots: Robotic construction crew needs no foreman (w/ video), February 13, 2014.
- Science Daily, Robotic systems: How sensorimotor intelligence may develop... self-organized behaviors , October 27, 2015.
- Zeiger, H. J. and Kelley, P. L. (1991) "Lasers", pp. 614–19 in The Encyclopedia of Physics, Second Edition, edited by Lerner, R. and Trigg, G., VCH Publishers.
- Ansari M. H. (2004) Self-organized theory in quantum gravity. arxiv.org
- Strong, M. (2004). "Protein Nanomachines". PLoS Biology. 2 (3): e73–e74. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020073. PMC 368168. PMID 15024422.
- Lehn, J.-M. (1988). "Perspectives in Supramolecular Chemistry-From Molecular Recognition towards Molecular Information Processing and Self-Organization". Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 27 (11): 89–121. doi:10.1002/anie.198800891.
- Bray, William C. (1921). "A periodic reaction in homogeneous solution and its relation to catalysis". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 43 (6): 1262–67. doi:10.1021/ja01439a007.
- Rego, J.A.; Harvey, Jamie A.A.; MacKinnon, Andrew L.; Gatdula, Elysse (January 2010). "Asymmetric synthesis of a highly soluble 'trimeric' analogue of the chiral nematic liquid crystal twist agent Merck S1011" (PDF). Liquid Crystals. 37 (1): 37–43. doi:10.1080/02678290903359291. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-04-13.
- Love; et al. (2005). "Self-Assembled Monolayers of Thiolates on Metals as a Form of Nanotechnology". Chem. Rev. 105 (4): 1103–70. doi:10.1021/cr0300789. PMID 15826011.
- Barlow, S.M.; Raval R.. (2003). "Complex organic molecules at metal surfaces: bonding, organisation and chirality". Surface Science report. 50 (6–8): 201–341. Bibcode:2003SurSR..50..201B. doi:10.1016/S0167-5729(03)00015-3.
- Ritu, Harneet (2016). "Large Area Fabrication of Semiconducting Phosphorene by Langmuir-Blodgett Assembly". Sci. Rep. 6: 34095. arXiv:1605.00875. Bibcode:2016NatSR...634095K. doi:10.1038/srep34095. PMC 5037434. PMID 27671093.
- Camazine, Deneubourg, Franks, Sneyd, Theraulaz, Bonabeau, Self-Organization in Biological Systems, Princeton University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-691-11624-5
- Bonabeau, Eric; et al. (May 1997). "Self-organization in social insects". Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 12 (5): 188–93. doi:10.1016/S0169-5347(97)01048-3.
- Couzin, Iain D.; Krause, Jens (2003). "Self-Organization and Collective Behavior in Vertebrates" (PDF). Advances in the Study of Behavior. 32: 1–75. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-20.
- Fox, Ronald F. (December 1993). "Review of Stuart Kauffman, The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution". Biophys. J. 65 (6): 2698–99. Bibcode:1993BpJ....65.2698F. doi:10.1016/s0006-3495(93)81321-3. PMC 1226010.
- Goodwin, Brian (2009). Ruse, Michael; Travis, Joseph (eds.). Beyond the Darwinian Paradigm: Understanding Biological Forms. Evolution: The First Four Billion Years. Harvard University Press.
- Johnson, Brian R.; Lam, Sheung Kwam (2010). "Self-organization, Natural Selection, and Evolution: Cellular Hardware and Genetic Software". BioScience. 60 (11): 879–85. doi:10.1525/bio.2010.60.11.4.
- Serugendo, Giovanna Di Marzo; et al. (June 2005). "Self-organization in multi-agent systems". Knowledge Engineering Review. 20 (2): 165–89. doi:10.1017/S0269888905000494.
- Yang, X. S.; Deb, S.; Loomes, M.; Karamanoglu, M. (2013). "A framework for self-tuning optimization algorithm". Neural Computing and Applications. 23 (7–8): 2051–57. arXiv:1312.5667. doi:10.1007/s00521-013-1498-4.
- X. S. Yang (2014) Nature-Inspired Optimization Algorithms, Elsevier.
- Watts, Duncan J.; Strogatz, Steven H. (June 1998). "Collective dynamics of 'small-world' networks". Nature. 393: 440–42. Bibcode:1998Natur.393..440W. doi:10.1038/30918. PMID 9623998.
- Clauset, Aaron; Cosma Rohilla Shalizi; M. E. J Newman (2007-06-07). "Power-law distributions in empirical data". SIAM Review. 51: 661–703. arXiv:0706.1062. Bibcode:2009SIAMR..51..661C. doi:10.1137/070710111.
- Zhang, Q., Cheng, L., and Boutaba, R. (2010). "Cloud computing: state-of-the-art and research challenges". Journal of Internet Services and Applications. 1 (1): 7–18. doi:10.1007/s13174-010-0007-6.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- Marinescu, D. C.; Paya, A.; Morrison, J. P.; Healy, P. (2013). "An auction-driven self-organising cloud delivery model". arXiv:1312.2998 [cs.DC].
- Lynn; et al. (2016). "Cloudlightning: A Framework for a Self-organising and Self-managing Heterogeneous Cloud". Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Cloud Computing and Services Science: 333. doi:10.5220/0005921503330338. ISBN 978-989-758-182-3.
- Wiener, Norbert (1962) "The mathematics of self-organising systems". Recent developments in information and decision processes, Macmillan, N. Y. and Chapter X in Cybernetics, or control and communication in the animal and the machine, The MIT Press.
- Cybernetics, or control and communication in the animal and the machine, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Wiley, NY, 1948. 2nd Edition 1962 "Chapter X "Brain Waves and Self-Organizing Systems" pp. 201–02.
- Ashby, William Ross (1952) Design for a Brain, Chapter 5 Chapman & Hall
- Ashby, William Ross (1956) An Introduction to Cybernetics, Part Two Chapman & Hall
- Conant, R. C.; Ashby, W. R. (1970). "Every good regulator of a system must be a model of that system" (PDF). Int. J. Systems Sci. 1 (2): 89–97. doi:10.1080/00207727008920220.
- Embodiments of Mind MIT Press (1965)"
- von Foerster, Heinz; Pask, Gordon (1961). "A Predictive Model for Self-Organizing Systems, Part I". Cybernetica. 3: 258–300.
- von Foerster, Heinz; Pask, Gordon (1961). "A Predictive Model for Self-Organizing Systems, Part II". Cybernetica. 4: 20–55.
- "Brain of the Firm" Alan Lane (1972); see also Viable System Model in "Beyond Dispute", and Stafford Beer (1994) "Redundancy of Potential Command" pp. 157–58.
- Pask, Gordon (1996). "Heinz von Foerster's Self-Organisation, the Progenitor of Conversation and Interaction Theories" (PDF). Systems Research. 13 (3): 349–62. doi:10.1002/(sici)1099-1735(199609)13:3<349::aid-sres103>3.3.co;2-7.
- Pask, G. (1973). Conversation, Cognition and Learning. A Cybernetic Theory and Methodology. Elsevier
- Green, N. (2001). "On Gordon Pask". Kybernetes. 30 (5/6): 673–82. doi:10.1108/03684920110391913.
- Pask, Gordon (1993) Interactions of Actors (IA), Theory and Some Applications.
- Interactive models for self organization and biological systems Center for Models of Life, Niels Bohr Institute, Denmark
- Luhmann, Niklas (1995) Social Systems. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804726256
- Krugman, P. (1995) The Self Organizing Economy. Blackwell Publishers. ISBN 1557866996
- Hayek, F. (1976) Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 2: The Mirage of Social Justice. University of Chicago Press.
- Biel, R.; Mu-Jeong Kho (November 2009). "The Issue of Energy within a Dialectical Approach to the Regulationist Problematique" (PDF). Recherches & Régulation Working Papers, RR Série ID 2009-1. Association Recherche & Régulation: 1–21. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
- Marshall, A. (2002) The Unity of Nature, Chapter 5. Imperial College Press. ISBN 1860943306
- Rogers.C. (1969). Freedom to Learn. Merrill
- Feynman, R. P. (1987) Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics. The Dyrac 1997 Memorial Lecture. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521658621
- Thomas L.F. & Augstein E.S. (1985) Self-Organised Learning: Foundations of a conversational science for psychology. Routledge (1st Ed.)
- Thomas L.F. & Augstein E.S. (1994) Self-Organised Learning: Foundations of a conversational science for psychology. Routledge (2nd Ed.)
- Thomas L.F. & Augstein E.S. (2013) Learning: Foundations of a conversational science for psychology. Routledge (Psy. Revivals)
- Harri-Augstein E. S. and Thomas L. F. (1991) Learning Conversations: The S-O-L way to personal and organizational growth. Routledge (1st Ed.)
- Harri-Augstein E. S. and Thomas L. F. (2013) Learning Conversations: The S-O-L way to personal and organizational growth. Routledge (2nd Ed.)
- Harri-Augstein E. S. and Thomas L. F. (2013)Learning Conversations: The S-O-L way to personal and organizational growth. BookBaby (eBook)
- Illich. I. (1971) A Celebration of Awareness. Penguin Books.
- Harri-Augstein E. S. (2000) The University of Learning in transformation
- Schumacher, E. F. (1997) This I Believe and Other Essays (Resurgence Book). ISBN 1870098668
- Revans R. W. (1982) The Origins and Growth of Action Learning Chartwell-Bratt, Bromley
- Thomas L.F. and Harri-Augstein S. (1993) "On Becoming a Learning Organisation" in Report of a 7 year Action Research Project with the Royal Mail Business. CSHL Monograph
- Rogers C.R. (1971) On Becoming a Person. Constable, London
- Prigogyne I. & Sengers I. (1985) Order out of Chaos Flamingo Paperbacks. London
- Capra F (1989) Uncommon Wisdom Flamingo Paperbacks. London
- Bohm D. (1994) Thought as a System. Routledge.
- Maslow, A. H. (1964). Religions, values, and peak-experiences, Columbus: Ohio State University Press.
- Conversational Science Thomas L.F. and Harri-Augstein E.S. (1985)
- Kerner, Boris S. (1998). "Experimental Features of Self-Organization in Traffic Flow". Physical Review Letters. 81: 3797–3800. Bibcode:1998PhRvL..81.3797K. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.81.3797.
- De Boer, Bart (2011). Gibson, Kathleen R.; Tallerman, Maggie (eds.). Self-organization and language evolution. The Oxford Handbook of Language Evolution. Oxford.
- Pagels, H. R. (January 1, 1985). "Is the irreversibility we see a fundamental property of nature?" (PDF). Physics Today: 97–99. Bibcode:1985PhT....38a..97P. doi:10.1063/1.2813716.
- Article 3. Whether God exists? newadvent.org
- W. Ross Ashby (1966), Design for a Brain, Chapman & Hall, 2nd edition.
- Amoroso, Richard (2005) The Fundamental Limit and Origin of Complexity in Biological Systems .
- Per Bak (1996), How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organized Criticality, Copernicus Books.
- Philip Ball (1999), The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature, Oxford University Press.
- Stafford Beer, Self-organization as autonomy: Brain of the Firm 2nd edition Wiley 1981 and Beyond Dispute Wiley 1994.
- Adrian Bejan (2000), Shape and Structure, from Engineering to Nature, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 324 pp.
- Mark Buchanan (2002), Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks W. W. Norton & Company.
- Scott Camazine, Jean-Louis Deneubourg, Nigel R. Franks, James Sneyd, Guy Theraulaz, & Eric Bonabeau (2001) Self-Organization in Biological Systems, Princeton Univ Press.
- Falko Dressler (2007), Self-Organization in Sensor and Actor Networks, Wiley & Sons.
- Manfred Eigen and Peter Schuster (1979), The Hypercycle: A principle of natural self-organization, Springer.
- Myrna Estep (2003), A Theory of Immediate Awareness: Self-Organization and Adaptation in Natural Intelligence, Kluwer Academic Publishers.
- Myrna L. Estep (2006), Self-Organizing Natural Intelligence: Issues of Knowing, Meaning, and Complexity, Springer-Verlag.
- J. Doyne Farmer et al. (editors) (1986), "Evolution, Games, and Learning: Models for Adaptation in Machines and Nature", in: Physica D, Vol 22.
- Carlos Gershenson and Francis Heylighen (2003). "When Can we Call a System Self-organizing?" In Banzhaf, W, T. Christaller, P. Dittrich, J. T. Kim, and J. Ziegler, Advances in Artificial Life, 7th European Conference, ECAL 2003, Dortmund, Germany, pp. 606–14. LNAI 2801. Springer.
- Hermann Haken (1983) Synergetics: An Introduction. Nonequilibrium Phase Transition and Self-Organization in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, Third Revised and Enlarged Edition, Springer-Verlag.
- F.A. Hayek Law, Legislation and Liberty, RKP, UK.
- Francis Heylighen (2001): "The Science of Self-organization and Adaptivity".
- Arthur Iberall (2016), Homeokinetics: The Basics, Strong Voices Publishing, Medfield, Massachusetts.
- Henrik Jeldtoft Jensen (1998), Self-Organized Criticality: Emergent Complex Behaviour in Physical and Biological Systems, Cambridge Lecture Notes in Physics 10, Cambridge University Press.
- Steven Berlin Johnson (2001), Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software.
- Stuart Kauffman (1995), At Home in the Universe, Oxford University Press.
- Stuart Kauffman (1993), Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution Oxford University Press.
- J. A. Scott Kelso (1995), Dynamic Patterns: The self-organization of brain and behavior, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- J. A. Scott Kelso & David A Engstrom (2006), "The Complementary Nature", The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Alex Kentsis (2004), Self-organization of biological systems: Protein folding and supramolecular assembly, Ph.D. Thesis, New York University.
- E.V. Krishnamurthy (2009)", Multiset of Agents in a Network for Simulation of Complex Systems", in "Recent advances in Nonlinear Dynamics and synchronization, (NDS-1) – Theory and applications, Springer Verlag, New York,2009. Eds. K.Kyamakya et al.
- Paul Krugman (1996), The Self-Organizing Economy, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
- Elizabeth McMillan (2004) "Complexity, Organizations and Change".
- Marshall, A (2002) The Unity of Nature, Imperial College Press: London (esp. chapter 5)
- Müller, J.-A., Lemke, F. (2000), Self-Organizing Data Mining.
- Gregoire Nicolis and Ilya Prigogine (1977) Self-Organization in Non-Equilibrium Systems, Wiley.
- Heinz Pagels (1988), The Dreams of Reason: The Computer and the Rise of the Sciences of Complexity, Simon & Schuster.
- Gordon Pask (1961), The cybernetics of evolutionary processes and of self organizing systems, 3rd. International Congress on Cybernetics, Namur, Association Internationale de Cybernetique.
- Christian Prehofer ea. (2005), "Self-Organization in Communication Networks: Principles and Design Paradigms", in: IEEE Communications Magazine, July 2005.
- Mitchell Resnick (1994), Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams: Explorations in Massively Parallel Microworlds, Complex Adaptive Systems series, MIT Press.
- Lee Smolin (1997), The Life of the Cosmos Oxford University Press.
- Ricard V. Solé and Brian C. Goodwin (2001), Signs of Life: How Complexity Pervades Biology], Basic Books.
- Ricard V. Solé and Jordi Bascompte (2006), in Complex Ecosystems, Princeton U. Press
- Soodak, Harry; Iberall, Arthur (1978). "Homeokinetics: A Physical Science for Complex Systems". Science. 201: 579–582. Bibcode:1978Sci...201..579S. doi:10.1126/science.201.4356.579.
- Steven Strogatz (2004), Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order, Theia.
- D'Arcy Thompson (1917), On Growth and Form, Cambridge University Press, 1992 Dover Publications edition.
- J. Tkac, J Kroc (2017), Cellular Automaton Simulation of Dynamic Recrystallization: Introduction into Self-Organization and Emergence "(open source software)" "Video – Simulation of DRX"
- Tom De Wolf, Tom Holvoet (2005), Emergence Versus Self-Organisation: Different Concepts but Promising When Combined, In Engineering Self Organising Systems: Methodologies and Applications, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, volume 3464, pp. 1–15.
- K. Yee (2003), "Ownership and Trade from Evolutionary Games", International Review of Law and Economics, 23.2, 183–197.
- Louise B. Young (2002), The Unfinished Universe
- Hermann Haken (ed.). "Self-organization". Scholarpedia.
- Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen
- PDF file on self-organized common law with references
- An entry on self-organization at the Principia Cybernetica site
- The Science of Self-organization and Adaptivity, a review paper by Francis Heylighen
- The Self-Organizing Systems (SOS) FAQ by Chris Lucas, from the USENET newsgroup comp.theory.self-org.sys
- David Griffeath, Primordial Soup Kitchen (graphics, papers)
- nlin.AO, nonlinear preprint archive, (electronic preprints in adaptation and self-organizing systems)
- Structure and Dynamics of Organic Nanostructures
- Metal organic coordination networks of oligopyridines and Cu on graphite
- Selforganization in complex networks The Complex Systems Lab, Barcelona
- Computational Mechanics Group at the Santa Fe Institute
- "Organisation must grow" (1939) W. Ross Ashby journal p. 759, from The W. Ross Ashby Digital Archive
- Cosma Shalizi's notebook on self-organization from 2003-06-20, used under the GFDL with permission from author.
- UCLA Human Complex Systems Program
- "Interactions of Actors (IA), Theory and Some Applications" 1993 Gordon Pask's theory of learning, evolution and self-organization (in draft).
- The Cybernetics Society
- Scott Camazine's webpage on self-organization in biological systems
- Mikhail Prokopenko's page on Information-driven Self-organisation (IDSO)
- Lakeside Labs Self-Organizing Networked Systems A platform for science and technology, Klagenfurt, Austria.
- Watch 32 discordant metronomes synch up all by themselves theatlantic.com