Beautiful Complexity

Beautiful Complexity

Experienced software developers have been exhorting us for decades to build simple, clear, modular systems and to avoid and reduce complexity at every turn. In software development, and in the English language, we have often ignored this advice and created ambiguous, vague, complex monoliths: The very word 'complexity' is one of them.

In this talk, we'll explore three faces of complexity of interest to programmers: "Big O" complexity, "Tar Pit" complexity, and "NetSci" complexity. In Network Science, I have found inherent, essential complexity that is inspiring, insightful, surprising, ubiquitous...and most importantly for engineers...pragmatic and useful. I'd like to share with you new tools from this emerging discipline that I've been using to describe, understand, and extend elegant, performant software systems and teams.

The presentation is done in a terse Lessig-style: Read the accompanying blog post at for more details.


Bobby Norton

April 17, 2015