July 11, 2003

Methods and Techniques

"Methods and Techniques of Complex Systems Science", my much-kvetched-about chapter for the Deisboeck, Kresh and Kepler volume on Complex Systems Science in Biomedicine, is finally off to the publishers. I think it much improved for the three weeks I spent working on it while in Lyon. While, naturally, my head is still full of things to change, I'm actually fairly happy with the result (particularly the sections on statistical methods, on agent-based models and on complexity measures), and anyway, by handing it in now, I make sure I'm not the last contributor to finish, and thereby the target of the editors' accumulated frustrations.

So, if you're interested in a 27,000-word introduction to tools for studying complex systems (and who isn't?), please take a look. Comments are welcome from any source --- it's supposed to make sense to the uninitiated. It may even be possible to make corrections before the book goes to the press.

People say that writing this kind of review article is very instructive, which is true; it marvellously reveals the gaps in one's own understanding of one's field. (Doubtless many more remain.) That said, I don't think I'm going to do this kind of thing again, at least not for a long time. For the same amount of time and work, I could have completed two, possibly even four, pending projects that will result in peer-reviewed papers in respectable journals, i.e., things which will help me get a job when this fellowship ends and, I flatter myself, expand the scope of human knowledge, if only marginally. This chapter, while nice, won't help me get a job, and contains nothing new; and the material rewards (a copy of the book and \$200, or about three-quarters of a cent per word) are pretty paltry. I have sporadic delusions of using it as the core of a textbook, but that couldn't begin to happen for a couple of years. In the meanwhile, I need to be a machine for turning coffee into papers...

Complexity ; Self-Centered

Posted at July 11, 2003 15:11 | permanent link

Three-Toed Sloth