I709: Complex Systems Seminar II

Spring 2011

Instructor: Luis M. Rocha, Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, School of Informatics and Computing and Cognitive Science Program, Indiana University

Class Location and Time: Tuesdays, 01:45P-04:30PM, Room: Informatics East Building, 122


Course Description

A complex system is any system featuring a large number of interacting components (agents, processes, etc.) whose aggregate activity is nonlinear (not derivable from the summations of the activity of individual components) and typically exhibits hierarchical self-organization under selective pressures. This definition applies to systems from a wide array of scientific disciplines. Indeed, the sciences of complexity are necessarily based on interdisciplinary research. Almost all interesting processes in nature are highly cross linked. In many systems, however, we can distinguish a set of fundamental building blocks, which interact nonlinearly to form compound structures or functions with an identity that requires more explanatory devices than those used to explain the building blocks. This process of emergence of the need for new, complementary, modes of description is known as hierarchical self-organization, and systems that observe this characteristic are defined as complex. Examples of these systems are gene networks that direct developmental processes, immune networks that preserve the identity of organisms, social insect colonies, neural networks in the brain that produce intelligence and consciousness, ecological networks, social networks comprised of transportation, utilities, and telecommunication systems, as well as economies. The field of complex systems studies the general characteristics of all these systems. Its goal is to identify and model the laws and behaviors common to various classes of complex systems.

Aims: This seminar is designed to present and discuss the history, methodology and impact of complex systems; we cover key literature as well as recent advances in the field.

Course Evaluation

Students are expected to read and annotate the materials presented, as well as present a few of the key readings. Students will also work on a term paper.

Office Hours

Course Materials and Readings

Printed Resources are available to students in OnCourse: Class Folder. Readings below are updated weekly.

For more information contact Luis Rocha at rocha@indiana.edu. Check the Web Design Credits, for due credit.
Last Modified: March 29, 2011