The causes for no causation: A computational perspective

Hussein Aly Abbass, Eleni Petraki

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    Abstract

    Causality is grounded in every scientific field. Computational modelling is no exception, except that it is our focus in this article. But what if we have made a mistake? Is causality a constraint on our understanding of complex systems? Is it an obstacle in our ability to build theories to control change in complex systems? Or do we merely need to refine the concept as we evolve from one level of complexity to another? We start the journey of this article by glancing over a few key pieces of work from Philosophy and Metaphysics. We then centre the discussion on the pivotal element of this paper, causality of change in complex systems of systems and demonstrate that a counterfactual analysis of causality breaks down. We steer the discussion more towards "change" and the separation between physical and perceptual elements. Three applications are presented as examples of the type of complexity we face in computational modelling of complex systems of systems. These three applications – covering story generation in linguistics, network centric operations in defence and interdependency security problems – demonstrate how causal dependencies can be modelled, identified and extracted from a computational environment that mimics real-world complex systems of systems. We conclude the paper with a proposed model to control change in complex systems; a model we call the E4 model
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)51-74
    Number of pages24
    JournalInformation - Knowledge - Systems Management
    Volume10
    Issue number1 - 4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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    Large scale systems
    Linguistics
    System of systems

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    The causes for no causation: A computational perspective. / Abbass, Hussein Aly; Petraki, Eleni.

    In: Information - Knowledge - Systems Management, Vol. 10, No. 1 - 4, 2012, p. 51-74.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AU - Abbass, Hussein Aly

    AU - Petraki, Eleni

    PY - 2012

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    AB - Causality is grounded in every scientific field. Computational modelling is no exception, except that it is our focus in this article. But what if we have made a mistake? Is causality a constraint on our understanding of complex systems? Is it an obstacle in our ability to build theories to control change in complex systems? Or do we merely need to refine the concept as we evolve from one level of complexity to another? We start the journey of this article by glancing over a few key pieces of work from Philosophy and Metaphysics. We then centre the discussion on the pivotal element of this paper, causality of change in complex systems of systems and demonstrate that a counterfactual analysis of causality breaks down. We steer the discussion more towards "change" and the separation between physical and perceptual elements. Three applications are presented as examples of the type of complexity we face in computational modelling of complex systems of systems. These three applications – covering story generation in linguistics, network centric operations in defence and interdependency security problems – demonstrate how causal dependencies can be modelled, identified and extracted from a computational environment that mimics real-world complex systems of systems. We conclude the paper with a proposed model to control change in complex systems; a model we call the E4 model

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