John H. Holland

John H. Holland is Professor of Psychology and Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan; he is also Trustee and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He is the author of Hidden Order: How Adaptation Builds Complexity and other books.

  • Signals and Boundaries

    Signals and Boundaries

    Building Blocks for Complex Adaptive Systems

    John H. Holland

    An overarching framework for comparing and steering complex adaptive systems is developed through understanding the mechanisms that generate their intricate signal/boundary hierarchies.

    Complex adaptive systems (cas), including ecosystems, governments, biological cells, and markets, are characterized by intricate hierarchical arrangements of boundaries and signals. In ecosystems, for example, niches act as semi-permeable boundaries, and smells and visual patterns serve as signals; governments have departmental hierarchies with memoranda acting as signals; and so it is with other cas. Despite a wealth of data and descriptions concerning different cas, there remain many unanswered questions about "steering" these systems. In Signals and Boundaries, John Holland argues that understanding the origin of the intricate signal/border hierarchies of these systems is the key to answering such questions. He develops an overarching framework for comparing and steering cas through the mechanisms that generate their signal/boundary hierarchies.

    Holland lays out a path for developing the framework that emphasizes agents, niches, theory, and mathematical models. He discusses, among other topics, theory construction; signal-processing agents; networks as representations of signal/boundary interaction; adaptation; recombination and reproduction; the use of tagged urn models (adapted from elementary probability theory) to represent boundary hierarchies; finitely generated systems as a way to tie the models examined into a single framework; the framework itself, illustrated by a simple finitely generated version of the development of a multi-celled organism; and Markov processes.

    • Hardcover $40.00 £32.00
    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00
  • Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems

    Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems

    An Introductory Analysis with Applications to Biology, Control, and Artificial Intelligence

    John H. Holland

    Genetic algorithms are playing an increasingly important role in studies of complex adaptive systems, ranging from adaptive agents in economic theory to the use of machine learning techniques in the design of complex devices such as aircraft turbines and integrated circuits. Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems is the book that initiated this field of study, presenting the theoretical foundations and exploring applications.

    In its most familiar form, adaptation is a biological process, whereby organisms evolve by rearranging genetic material to survive in environments confronting them. In this now classic work, Holland presents a mathematical model that allows for the nonlinearity of such complex interactions. He demonstrates the model's universality by applying it to economics, physiological psychology, game theory, and artificial intelligence and then outlines the way in which this approach modifies the traditional views of mathematical genetics.

    Initially applying his concepts to simply defined artificial systems with limited numbers of parameters, Holland goes on to explore their use in the study of a wide range of complex, naturally occuring processes, concentrating on systems having multiple factors that interact in nonlinear ways. Along the way he accounts for major effects of coadaptation and coevolution: the emergence of building blocks, or schemata, that are recombined and passed on to succeeding generations to provide, innovations and improvements.

    • Hardcover $31.50 £26.00
    • Paperback $35.00 £28.00
  • Induction


    Processes Of Inference

    John H. Holland, Keith J. Holyoak, Richard E. Nisbett, and Paul Thagard

    Two psychologists, a computer scientist, and a philosopher have collaborated to present a framework for understanding processes of inductive reasoning and learning in organisms and machines. Theirs is the first major effort to bring the ideas of several disciplines to bear on a subject that has been a topic of investigation since the time of Socrates. The result is an integrated account that treats problem solving and induction in terms of rule­based mental models.

    Induction is included in the Computational Models of Cognition and Perception Series.

    A Bradford Book.

    • Hardcover $42.00
    • Paperback $40.00 £32.00


  • The Mechanical Mind in History

    The Mechanical Mind in History

    Phil Husbands, Owen Holland, and Michael Wheeler

    Scientists, artists, historians, and philosophers trace the evolution of the idea of intelligent machines, reflecting on the multidisciplinary quest to explain mind scientifically as a wholly mechanical process.

    The idea of intelligent machines has become part of popular culture. But tracing the history of the actual science of machine intelligence reveals a rich network of cross-disciplinary contributions—the unrecognized origins of ideas now central to artificial intelligence, artificial life, cognitive science, and neuroscience. In The Mechanical Mind in History, scientists, artists, historians, and philosophers discuss the multidisciplinary quest to formalize and understand the generation of intelligent behavior in natural and artificial systems as a wholly mechanical process. The contributions illustrate the diverse and interacting notions that chart the evolution of the idea of the mechanical mind. They describe the mechanized mind as, among other things, an analogue system, an organized suite of chemical interactions, a self-organizing electromechanical device, an automated general-purpose information processor, and an integrated collection of symbol manipulating mechanisms. They investigate the views of pivotal figures that range from Descartes and Heidegger to Alan Turing and Charles Babbage, and they emphasize such frequently overlooked areas as British cybernetic and pre-cybernetic thinkers. The volume concludes with the personal insights of five highly influential figures in the field: John Maynard Smith, John Holland, Oliver Selfridge, Horace Barlow, and Jack Cowan.

    Contributors Peter Asaro, Horace Barlow, Andy Beckett, Margaret Boden, Jon Bird, Paul Brown, Seth Bullock, Roberto Cordeschi, Jack Cowan, Ezequiel Di Paolo, Hubert Dreyfus, Andrew Hodges, Owen Holland, Jana Horáková, Philip Husbands, Jozef Kelemen, John Maynard Smith, Donald Michie, Oliver Selfridge, Michael Wheeler

    • Hardcover $9.75 £7.99