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GLOSSARY
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Inflation

The theory that our universe began as a microscopic point which instantly burst to an immense cosmic size at the big bang.

Isomorphic

A term, often used in general systems theory, to connote similarity in shape or structure between different objects, entities or levels in a hierarchy.

Iteration

Repetition of the same mathematical steps or procedural processes over and over. Also applies to subsequent phases of a project.

Metazoan

The overall classification of multicellular animals.

Modularity

The tendency of complex, evolving, self-organizing systems such as brains or genomes to form differentiated functional modules.

Morphogenesis

The sequential anatomical development of the bodily morphology of an organism.

Multiverse

The ensemble of all possible universes that might exist, most of which would not allow life and human intelligence to appear.

Neocortex

The most recent evolutionary addition to the brain’s cerebral cortex.

Neural Network

An interconnected, variable mesh of sensitive neurons in the brain or an information processing circuit in computer. These can be self-organizing and self-learning by means of giving “weights” to processed information whereby stronger or more prevalent inputs are reinforced.

Neuron

A basic nerve cell in brains with an emitter extension and a receiving dendrite.

Niche

An environmental habitat to which an organism is adapted and within which it evolves.

NK Landscapes

A term from Stuart Kauffman whereby the fitness of N genes depends on the state of K other genes. Altogether their interaction gnerates an evolving fitness landscape.

Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics

A theoretical basis for the movement and transfer of energy in open systems and environments such as organisms and societies that are maintained in a state far from thermal equilibrium.

Nonlinear

A property of complex activities whereby the output is not directly proportional to the input such as linear cause and effect and can give rise to unexpected results.

Nonlocality

The quantum mechanical property whereby elements separated over any distance are instantaneously interrelated. The phenomenon is also known as entanglement.

Noosphere

A term for an emerging brain-like envelope over the earth due to the increased composite contributions of all peoples. Mainly derived from Vladimir Vernadsky and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Ontogeny

The developmental life history of an individual organism.

Open System

An entity or process such as planet earth that receives inputs of matter and energy from external sources.

Parallel Distributed Processing

From cognitive science, whereby information is handled more efficiently by the use of many modular processing units connected in parallel. Also applies to many simpler computers conntected together to accomplish a more complicated data processing task.

Phenotype

The observable characters of a specific organism - macromolecules, cells, structures, metabolism, energy utilization, tissues, organs, reflexes and behaviors. Their manifestation is dependent upon genotype and environment.

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