Chapter 3: The World of Simple Programs

Section 12: How the Discoveries in This Chapter Were Made

Studying simple systems

Over the years, I have watched with disappointment the continuing failure of most scientists and mathematicians to grasp the idea of doing computer experiments on the simplest possible systems. Those with physical science backgrounds tend to add features to their systems in an attempt to produce some kind of presumed realism. And those with mathematical backgrounds tend to add features to make their systems fit in with complicated and abstract ideas—often related to continuity—that exist in modern mathematics. The result of all this has been that remarkably few truly meaningful computer experiments have ended up ever being done.

From Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science [citation]