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What is a living pattern?
Patterns describe essential relationships among the elements of systems, and provide a unique and useful tool for handling and organizing complexity. This truth, embodied for centuries in the practice of creating human habitation, has in recent years been dissected and catalogued by science. Computer researchers have adopted the pattern method both to understand and to manipulate complexity. Advances in our knowledge of how patterns reflect the ordered complexity of nature has led to breakthroughs in computer technology that continue to fuel economic growth and development not just in industry but in every realm of our society (Leitner, 2015; Mehaffy & Salingaros, 2015).
Patterns of behavior, and of practice in any field of human endeavor, evolve over time with constant repetition, each repetition embedded in and learning from its predecessors. Any pattern arising from such evolutionary selection over generations is irreducible; that is, it cannot be understood in terms of simpler components. It is not a multiplication of a prior component but an accretion to its complexity. It grows ever more subtle, ever more useful, and comes closer and closer to reflecting how nature works: It is a living pattern. Such a pattern can be combined with others into a system that reflects an ever-higher level of useful relationships (Salingaros, 2005: Chapter 8).
We rely on techniques akin to genetic programming to discover evolved solutions as general methods for manipulating complexity without destroying its order. By examining an enormous number of possible small variations, a pattern is selected as the optimal configuration, the one that provides the most useful feedback. Direct simulated evolution is computationally very intensive, so the results, once obtained, are worth documenting in a pattern format. […]