By Jenna Brady, ARL Public AffairsOctober 12, 2017
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- A U.S. Army Research Laboratory scientist recently published a book that has the potential to aid future urban warfare understanding and strategy.
Dr. Bruce J. West, senior scientist of mathematics and information science at ARL's U.S. Army Research Office and ARL Fellow, published the book titled "Nature's Patterns and Fractional Calculus."
The book discusses how complexity increases with increasing system size in everything from organisms to organizations.
The nonlinear dependence of a system's functionality on its size, by means of an allometry relation, is argued to be a consequence of their joint dependency on complexity, or information.
"The wars of the future will take place in megacities," West said. "Understanding and quantifying how such urban centers grow, evolve and ultimately connect to the global network may well determine not only the eventual outcome of any conflict, but may also guide the development of strategies that reduce the loss of life and the expenditure of resources in such conflicts."
Taking examples from various topics in nature, the book is of interest to researchers in applied mathematics as well as investigators in the natural, social, physical and life sciences.
"It is true that what we do not know can get us into trouble. But, as Mark Twain observed, it does not get us into nearly as much trouble as what we know to be true that turns out to be false," West said. "I hope the reader will take away from the book the lesson that much of what we know is not true and the study of nature's patterns can reveal the reasons why.
According to West, publishing this book is a great reward for him.
"It is gratifying to be able to show how what had been considered an esoteric branch of mathematics, the fractional calculus, can be used to understand how complexity provides an underpinning to so many of the patterns we see in the natural, physical, social and life sciences," West said.
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, currently celebrating 25 years of excellence in Army science and technology, is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.