For those new to the topic of complex systems, there exist several overlapping fields that address the fundamental questions of how systems, through relationships between their parts, give rise to collective and often adaptive behaviors. (Check out the systems map for an overview). Keep in mind that systems range from star systems with orbiting planets to machines that we build with rigidly connected parts to stock markets comprised of freely-acting agents. Also, systems vary greatly in adaptability to environmental changes or to internal perturbations. Questions that interest researches are whether a given system can survive major changes, or will it fail catastrophically? Perhaps the central question in the field of complex system theory is whether complex systems can be traced to prior causes (reductive) or whether they are spontaneous (emergent). We will explore these topics in future posts, so stay tuned!