phenomenon whereby larger entities arise through interactions among smaller/simpler entities such that the larger entities exhibit properties the smaller/simpler entities don't exhibit; central in theories of integrative levels and of complex systems
In nature Edit
Living, biological systems Edit
termite "cathedral" mound produced by a termite colony.
Birds flocking emerges from simple rules: keep distance, stay aligned and avoid predators.
Conus textile exhibits an emergent cellular automaton pattern on its shell.
A plaster cast of an
ant nest shows the advanced structure emerged from ant behavior.
For most of the times, the slime mold exists as thousands of single-celled organisms, but under certain conditions they group together forming a single entity.
Non-living, physical systems Edit
Ripple patterns in a sand dune created by wind or water.
Small atmospheric disturbances emerging into a
hurricane. In culture and engineering Edit
Emergence appears frequently in cities where no planning predetermines the layout of the city.
Social self-organization in Central Asian trade routes.
A Möbius strip demonstrates emergence in mathematics.
Visualization of links between pages on a wiki.
The stock market has its own "invisible hand" emerging from purely self-interested actions. NYSE pictured.