Computational Synergetics

Recent increases in computer speed and graphics hardware have allowed us to look at algorithmic processes visually and, importantly, to interact with these processes. The remarkable thing about representational processes is their ability to symbolicly or visually relate to nature and natural processes. In some cases this goes beyond simple mimicry and can prove an invaluable technique for many fields of endevour. In epistomological terms it reflects a trend away from analysis towards synthesis (it may also be argued that this is happening culturally also).

Computer graphics has allowed us to visualise what was in many ways 'hidden' in theory and formulae. The machine is a virtual laboratory where you can program your own universe, run the simulation and observe or even interact with the behaviour generated. This process of feedback between mind, machine and image outlines the process of Computational Synergetics - that is the human mind working with a feedback to enhance understanding of the process being explored.

Many have observed that this process enables results and/or understanding that would be far greater than what could be achieved without this link.

As our dependence on technology increases, and as the complexity, subtlety and intimacy of the human-machine interface develops it seems that our next major evolutionary steps will involve an inter-relationship with our technology. Ideas and techniques being developed now give us some glimpse into the nature, and the future, of ourselves.


Norman J. Zabusky. Computational Synergetics, Physics Today, July 1984.

Jon McCormack /