The aim of science is to describe, explain and predict the behavior of the world which surrounds us. Reality is however much too complex to be described accurately, without any simplification or approximation. For this reason, when describing a given phenomenon, we take into account only the elements of reality which we think have a significant influence over the phenomenon we are describing. Through understanding the behavior of very simple objects, one thus hopes to shed light on rules governing the behavior of the more complex ones. The concepts and methods covered in this book can considerably aid such an approach.
Modeling Reality covers a wide range of fascinating subjects, accessible to anyone who wants to learn about the use of computer modeling to solve a diverse range of problems, but who does not possess a specialized training in mathematics or computer science. The material presented is pitched at the level of high-school graduates, even though it covers some advanced topics (cellular automata, Shannon’s measure of information, deterministic chaos, fractals, game theory, neural networks, genetic algorithms, and Turing machines). These advanced topics are explained in terms of well known simple concepts: Cellular automata — Game of life, Shannon’s formula — Game of twenty questions, Game theory — Television quiz, etc. The book is unique at explaining in a straightforward and complete fashion many important ideas, related to various models of reality and their applications. Twenty-five programs, written specifically for the book, are provided on an accompanying CD, greatly enhancing the pedagogical value and enjoyment of learning.
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