Patterns, Models, Complexity: Notes On Mapping Patterns In Analysis Of Complexity

C. Pieters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Design Patterns, which were pioneered for building architecture by the British/Austrian architect Christopher Alexander, have proven to be very powerful in designing complex systems. Especially in software architecture they have become the most common way of describing and building complex software applications. This inevitably has resulted in efforts to use patterns to study other complex systems, in other words to use them as a methodological construct to analyze certain phenomena. Most notably, patterns promise to bring certain consistency to complex phenomena across various scientific domains which currently are hardly mutually interacting, such as between engineering and the humanities. Through their simple, graphical style, they may provide a vocabulary that can be used by researchers from many disciplines, and also may help to educate students on matters relating to complexity from an interdisciplinary perspective. However, this begs the question on the methodological justification of this ‘reverse trajectory’. This paper explores some of the issues that are raised by this approach.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages20
JournalEmergence: Complexity & Organization (E:CO)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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