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Organization and Order

A talk by Dr. Alan Levin

Friday, October 30, 2009, 10:00 AM

Time:     10am – 11:30 am

Place:    PHE 333

Title :     Organization and Order

Speaker:              Dr. Alan Levin

Host:     Dr. Barry Boehm

Abstract:

Organization is a startling and spontaneous macroscopic characteristic.  We observe it in nature, and we participate in it socially, economically, culturally, and linguistically.  Unfortunately, there appears to be no sound theoretical foundation for organization in nature and organization is often confused with order.  By examining modeling assumptions and using system engineering methods, we can clarify the difference between functional and structural models and appreciate how to use them jointly to solve otherwise intractable problems.  In doing so we also gain insight into the proper use of the terms organization, order, and emergence.

Bio:

Alan Levin is currently conducting original research into organization in natural systems.  This interdisciplinary program extends traditional physical chemical methods with functional modeling techniques from system engineering. In 2008 Dr. Levin retired after a distinguished career working for TRW and Northrop Grumman Corporation.  He joined TRW in 1979, and served in increasingly responsible positions as member of the technical staff, project manager, director of engineering, chief scientist, director of business development, and director of strategy and technology planning for a division with over $1B annual sales.  He routinely worked with government, defense industry, commercial, and academic professionals projecting advanced technology needs for future critical missions.  Before joining TRW, Dr. Levin taught physical chemistry at Carleton College and conducted original research in nucleic acid chemistry. He graduated with a B.Sc. in Chemistry from UCLA and a Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry from UC Berkeley.

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