Spin glasses are disordered magnetic systems that have led to the development of mathematical tools with an array of real-world applications, from airline scheduling to neural networks. Spin Glasses and Complexity offers the most concise, engaging, and accessible introduction to the subject, fully explaining what spin glasses are, why they are important, and how they are opening up new ways of thinking about complexity.
This one-of-a-kind guide to spin glasses begins by explaining the fundamentals of order and symmetry in condensed matter physics and how spin glasses fit into--and modify--this framework. It then explores how spin-glass concepts and ideas have found applications in areas as diverse as computational complexity, biological and artificial neural networks, protein folding, immune response maturation, combinatorial optimization, and social network modeling.
Providing an essential overview of the history, science, and growing significance of this exciting field, Spin Glasses and Complexity also features a forward-looking discussion of what spin glasses may teach us in the future about complex systems. This is a must-have book for students and practitioners in the natural and social sciences, with new material even for the experts.
Daniel L. Stein is professor of physics and mathematics at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. His books include Spin Glasses and Biology. Charles M. Newman is professor of mathematics at NYU's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and at the University of California, Irvine. His books include Topics in Disordered Systems.
"The challenge that Stein and Newman faced in creating this book . . . was to write for a broad range of readers and still offer interesting depth. As they state in the preface, they are aiming for a reading level that is between Scientific American and research journals. This reviewer believes they have succeeded. . . . Stein and Newman write well and keep the mathematics to a minimum."--Choice
"[A] surprisingly broad field of view is visible through the lens of the classical, equilibrium using spin glass and the authors are able to use it to explore many fascinating topics. Stein and Newman have written an excellent introduction to the field of spin glasses and the many ramifications of spin glass theory outside of condensed matter physics and statistical mechanics. Experts and novices alike will find this book interesting and useful."--Jonathan Machta, Journal of Statistical Physics
"This excellent book fills a unique and valuable niche. It is a great introduction to some fascinating physics, emphasizing the fundamental concepts and the connections to other complex systems. There are lots of technical volumes on spin glasses, but no other book works at this nonmathematical level, certainly not while still being so accurate and insightful."--Cosma Shalizi, Carnegie Mellon University
"This primer builds the theory of spin glasses, starting with the real physical systems and experiments that inspired the theory. Stein and Newman work hard to make this material accessible to nonphysicists, and they write in an entertaining and friendly way. Even as a physicist I learned a fair amount."--Cris Moore, Santa Fe Institute
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