Nonlinear Sciences > Adaptation and Self-Organizing Systems
[Submitted on 16 Dec 2015 (v1), last revised 16 Sep 2016 (this version, v2)]
Dynamical criticality: overview and open questions
Systems that exhibit complex behaviours are often found in a particular dynamical condition, poised between order and disorder. This observation is at the core of the so-called criticality hypothesis, which states that systems in a dynamical regime between order and disorder attain the highest level of computational capabilities and achieve an optimal trade-off between robustness and flexibility. Recent results in cellular and evolutionary biology, neuroscience and computer science have revitalised the interest in the criticality hypothesis, emphasising its role as a viable candidate general law in adaptive complex systems. In this paper we provide an overview of the works on dynamical criticality that are -to the best of our knowledge- particularly relevant for the criticality hypothesis. We review the main contributions concerning dynamics and information processing at the edge of chaos, and we illustrate the main achievements in the study of critical dynamics in biological systems. Finally, we discuss open questions and propose an agenda for future work.