Research into anticipation revealed various aspects that suggested a number of definitions.

Robert Rosen, Mihai Nadin, Daniel Dennett and others who approached particular aspects of anticipation contributed to some of these definitions. Mihai Nadin (cf. Anticipation – A Spooky Computation) attempted an overview of the various angles from which anticipation can be approached if the focus is on computation. This overview is continued and expanded in the integrated publication (book+dvd+website) to which this website belongs. The following 12 definitions, or descriptions, of anticipation should be understood as working hypotheses. It is hoped and expected that the knowledge community of those interested in anticipation will eventually refine these definitions and suggest new ones in order to facilitate a better understanding of what anticipation is and its importance for the survival of living systems.

  1. An anticipatory system is a system whose current state is determined by a future state. “The cause lies in the future,”.
    (cf. Robert Rosen, Heinz von Foerster)
  2. Anticipation is the generation of a multitude of dynamic models of human actions and the resolution of their conflict.
    (cf. Mihai Nadin)
  3. An anticipatory system is a system containing a predictive model of itself and/or of its environment that allows it to change state at an instant in accord with the model’s predictions pertaining to a later instant.
    (cf. Robert Rosen)
  4. Anticipation is a process of co-relation among factors pertaining to the present, past and future of a system.
    (cf. Mihai Nadin)
  5. Anticipation is an expression of the connectedness of the world, in particular of quantum non-locality.
    (cf. Mihai Nadin)
  6. Anticipation is the expression of natural entailment.
    (cf. Robert Rosen)
  7. Anticipation is a mechanism of synchronization and integration.
    (cf. Mihai Nadin)
  8. Anticipation is an attractor within dynamic systems.
    (cf. Mihai Nadin)
  9. Anticipation is a recursive process described through the functioning of a mechanism whose past, present, and future states allow it to evolve from an initial to a final state that is implicitly embedded in the mechanism.
    (cf. Mihai Nadin)
  10. Anticipation is a realization within the domain of possibilities.
    (cf. Mihai Nadin)
  11. Anticipatory mechanisms can be reinforced through feedback. Feedforward and inverse kinetics are part of the integrated mechanism of anticipation.
    (cf. Daniel Dennett, Daniel Wolpert, Nadin)
  12. Anticipation is a power law-based long-range interaction.
    (cf. Mihai Nadin)