Learning @ Scale 2021 & EMOOCs 2021Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Engineering, ACM - Association for Computing Machinery
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Geoffrey West: Scale: A Window onto Universal Laws of Growth, Living and Dying in Organisms, Cities and Companies

Time effort: approx. 53 minutes
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About this video


Authors:
Geoffrey West
Affiliation:
Santa Fe Institute, United States

Abstract:
Despite its extraordinary complexity and diversity, many of Life's characteristics scale with size in a surprisingly simple fashion: time-scales from lifespans to growth-rates, and sizes from genome lengths to tree heights, scale systematically and predictably with size. Remarkably, cities and companies also exhibit systematic scaling: wages, profits, patents, crime, disease, and roads all scale in an approximately “universal” fashion across the globe. The origin of these laws, which constrain much of the organisation and dynamics of Life, will be explained and related to the underlying generic principles of the networks that sustain life ranging from circulatory systems of mammals to social networks of cities and companies. Their dynamics, which transcend history, geography and culture, have potentially dramatic implications for growth, development and global sustainability.