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Complexity and Scientific Modelling

9 Conclusion

Complexity is usefully distinguished from both the probability of correctness (the error) and the specificity of the model. It is relative to both the type of difficulty one is concerned with and the language of modelling. Complexity does not necessarily correspond to a lack of "simplicity" or lie between order and disorder.

When modelling is done by agents with severe resource limitations, the acceptable trade-offs between complexity, error and specificity can determine the effective relations between these. The characterisation of noise will emerge from this. Simpler theories are not a priori more likely to be correct but sometimes if one knows that the theories are made by an agent, for whom it is easier to elaborate than engage in a wider search, preferring the simpler theory at the expense of accuracy can be a useful heuristic.

Complexity and Scientific Modelling - 04 APR 97
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