Emergence versus self-organisation: different concepts but promising when combined

Agentlink Clearinghouse is powered by GNU EPrints developed by the School of Electronics and Computer Science of the University of Southampton.
Type: Article

De Wolf, Tom and Holvoet, Tom (2005) Emergence versus self-organisation: different concepts but promising when combined. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence (LNAI), 3464.

Full text not available from this archive.


A clear terminology is essential in every research discipline. In the context of ESOA, a lot of confusion exists about the meaning of the terms emergence and self-organisation. One of the sources of the confusion comes from the fact that a combination of both phenomena often occurs in dynamical systems. In this paper a historic overview of the use of each concept as well as a working definition, that is compatible with the historic and current meaning of the concepts, is given. Each definition is explained by supporting it with important characteristics found in the literature. We show that emergence and self-organisation each emphasise different properties of a system. Both phenomena can exist in isolation. The paper also outlines some examples of such systems and considers the combination of emergence and self-organisation as a promising approach in complex multi-agent systems.

Deposited by Tom De Wolf on 22 May 2005

Archive Staff Only: edit this record


AgentLink is the European Commission's IST-funded Coordination Action for Agent-Based Computing
and is coordinated by the
University of Liverpool and University of Southampton
If you encounter any problems with these pages please contact web@agentlink.org.