Types and Forms of Emergence

The knowledge of the different types of emergence is essential if we want to understand and master complex systems in science and engineering, respectively. This paper specifies a universal taxonomy and comprehensive classification of the major types and forms of emergence in Multi-Agent Systems, from simple types of intentional and predictable emergence in machines to more complex forms of weak, multiple and strong emergence. The emergence of order and organization in systems composed of many autonomous entities or agents is a very fundamental process.
The process of emergence deals with the fundamental question: “how does an entity come into existence?” In a process of emergence we observe something (for instance the appearance of order or organization) and ask how this is possible, since we assume causality: every effect should have a cause. The surprising aspect in a process of emergence is the observation of an effect without an apparent cause. Although the process of emergence might look mysterious, there is nothing mystical, magical or unscientific about it.

Author: Jochen Fromm

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