Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 20, Iss. 2, April, 2016, pp. 293-317
@2016 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Synchronization, TIGoRS, and Information Flow in Complex Systems: Dispositional Cellular Automata

William H. Sulis, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Abstract: Synchronization has a long history in physics where it refers to the phase matching of two identical oscillators. This notion has been extensively studied in physics as well as in biology, where it has been applied to such widely varying phenomena as the flashing of fireflies and firing of neurons in the brain. Human behavior, however, may be recurrent but it is not oscillatory even though many physiological systems do exhibit oscillatory tendencies. Moreover, much of human behaviour is collaborative and cooperative, where the individual behaviours may be distinct yet contemporaneous (if not simultaneous) and taken collectively express some functionality. In the context of behaviour, the important aspect is the repeated co-occurrence in time of behaviours that facilitate the propagation of information or of functionality, regardless of whether or not these behaviours are similar or identical. An example of this weaker notion of synchronization is transient induced global response synchronization (TIGoRS). Previous work has shown that TIGoRS is a ubiquitous phenomenon among complex systems, enabling them to stably parse environmental transients into salient units to which they stably respond. This leads to the notion of Sulis machines, which emergently generate a primitive linguistic structure through their dynamics. This article reviews the notion of TIGoRS and its expression in several complex systems models including tempered neural networks, driven cellular automata and cocktail party automata. The emergent linguistics of Sulis machines are discussed. A new class of complex systems model, the dispositional cellular automaton is introduced. A new metric for TIGoRS, the excess synchronization, is introduced and applied to the study of TIGoRS in dispositional cellular automata. It is shown that these automata exhibit a nonlinear synchronization response to certain perturbing transients.

Keywords: transient induced global response synchronization (TIGoRS), dispositional cellular automata, excess synchronization