The field of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) is approximately 20 years old, having been established by physicists economists and others studying complexity at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico USA. The field has spawned much work such as Holland’s contributions of genetic algorithms classifier systems and his ecosystem simulator which
assisted in provoking the fields of evolutionary computation and artificial life. The framework of inducted principles derived from many natural and artificial examples of complex systems has assisted in the investigation in such diverse fields of study as psychology anthropology genetic evolution ecology and business management theory although a unified theory of such complex systems still appears to be a long way off. This work reviews the principles of complex adaptive systems as a framework providing a number of interpretations from eminent researches in the field. Many example works are cited and the theory is used to phrase some ambiguus work in the field of artificial immune systems and artificial life. The methodology of using simulations of CAS as the starting point for models in the field of biological inspired computation is postulated as an important contribution of CAS to that field.