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abaci Library

The abaci Partnership LLP

   The abaci Partnership was a ‘think tank’ formed in 2005. It provided practical advice on how to employ the insights from complexity science to solve real-world challenges. It ceased trading on 30 Nov 2015 as part of the planned retirement of the partners. Its web site ( ceased to exist in the summer of 2017.

   However, its library is now hosted*** on this site where you can still browse the free articles in the library on a range of topics covering AI, climate change adaptation, command and control (and other military matters), complexity thinking, organisational change, modelling and simulation, neural networks, software agents and robots.

   Also the 'complexity in practice' / complexity demystified blog is still online [till the 20th August 2023, when it will close]. The blog contains shorter versions of some of the articles we have previously published. The full list is below - as is a record of the events that the abaci partners attended and of the contracts they carried out. Sadly, many institutions do not fulfil their responsibility to future generations by maintaining historical and archived materials on their servers or websites (even the BBC has removed ‘old’ material) - we aim to fill that gap by putting some of the ‘missing’ papers here.

Previous abaci Publications

Completed abaci Events

  • Scence, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP): abaci supported the inspirational work of Professor Brian Collins in exploring and improving the ways that scientific and engineering  expertise and knowledge are engaged with public decision-making and  policy processes across all levels, sectors and cultures of our now  globally interdependent societies.
  • The abaci Partnership worked with ACCRA - see the website here on climate change adaptation. We have worked with District Officers in  Uganda, Ethiopia and Mozambique. Together, we developed practical, feasible and more flexible and forward-looking ways of working which enable adaptation in the face of the unexpected.
  • Zero Carbon Britain 2030: The Research Director supported Centre for Alternative Technology who have published practical and feasible guidance on how to achieve a  zero-carbon future for Britian by 2030. A pdf of their handbook is available here. Our library contains an article on the importance of sustaining  Peak Precision to achieve these goals.

Other abaci Achievements

  • Blogs: abaci maintained a blog with articles on how to purposefully harness dynamic change in enterprises.
  • In 2012, abaci won a contract to develop doctrine on so-called 'Information  Superiority' and another to support Oxfam, The Overseas Development  Institute (ODI) and the Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA).
  • Collaborative Strategies Network: abaci contributed to the work of this prestigious international Think Tank.
  • Exploiting Causality: abaci’s Research Director is a member of the organising committee of an international group co- authoring a book on Causality in Complex Systems.
  • Invited Paper Reviewers: abaci members were active on the Technical Programme Committee for ‘Complex 09’ in Shanghai, China.
  • Alternative Energy Challenge: abaci submitted an entry to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge 2008 which was  chosen for inclusion on their ‘Ideas Index’.
  • IMA Conference: abaci's Research Directory gave a plenary presentation on "A Complexity Science-based Approach to Conflict Analysis and Influence" at RMA Sandhurst in April 2012. The paper is in our online library.
  • Aid on the Edge of Chaos:abaci members attended the research seminar Exploring Complexity Sciences in International Development and Humanitarian Work at the LSE on 22 April 2010.
  • Terrorism and Complexity of Soft Targets:abaci’s Research Director participated in the ESRC Complexity Seminar on the Case of the Tourism Industry as a Soft Target. The seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University on 10 March 2010.
  • Critical National Infrastructure:abaci attended the Delivering Secure Critical National Infrastructure Conference 2010 in London on 9 March 2010.
  • Causality in Complex Environments: abaci attended and presented at a Workshop on this topic from 26-27 November 2009 - in association with the International Conference on Emergence in Geographic Space: concepts, methods and models, Paris.
  • Agent-based Modelling: abaci’s Research Director, Patrick Beautement, gave an invited talk at  University College London on the 25th November 2009 as part of the  EC-funded Global System Dynamics and Policies project. The talk covered the strengths and weaknesses of using agent-based models to investigate complex environments.
  • Practitioners Workshop: abaci organised and facilitated a very successful Workshop ‘Putting Complexity to Work, Supporting the Practitioners’ at the European Conference on Complex Systems 2009 in Warwick, UK (21 - 25 September, 2009). The output has been published by abaci as a White Paper (see the presentations below - videos available by contacting the organisers).
  • Enterprise Networking: abaci participated in the Growing Gloucestershire Conference 2009 in Cheltenham, UK (25 June 2009).
  • Digital Ecosystems: abaci attended the DEST 2009 Conference in Istanbul, Turkey (1 - 3 June, 2009).
  • Energy and Climate Change: abaci participated in an ESRC Complexity Seminar held at the LSE on the 24 March 2009.
  • Complexity Science Conference: abaci presented two papers at the Complex 2009 conference in Shanghai, China (23 - 25th February, 2009). The presentations are available to download in the abaci Library.

Download the ECCS 09 ‘Putting Complexity to Work’ (PCtW) Presentations

  • Introduction to the Workshop. Patrick Beautement and Christine Broenner, Organisers. [PDF]
  • Practical Complexity - Do we know what we need to do? Robert Holloway, AFP Foundation, France [Presentation abstract in the workshop White Paper].
  • Community engagement - a social eco-system dance. Eileen Conn - Living Systems. [PDF]
  • Peckham Power Can complexity tools help us?. Anna Plodowski - Peckham Power Project.  [PDF]
  • Embracing Complexity and Innovation to Deliver Business Growth. Dave Palmer, Phrazzle Associates, UK. [PDF]
  • Bridging the Gap between Practitioners and Complexity Scientists - Thinking out of the Box. Dr W H Erik de Man, The Netherlands. [PDF]
  • Addressing the Challenges: Putting Complexity to Work. Lucian Hudson, Chair: Collaborative Strategies Network. Formerly FCO, UK. [PDF]
  • Deutsche Zusammenfassung

*** The former abaci site is hosted here ‘as was’ - the current host has no liability for the content.

[Updated 31 Jul 2023]