HRNS195I-012: Complex Systems: What Ants, Brains, Traffic, and Markets Have in Common

'Complex systems' are composed on multiple interacting units, and often show sophisticated behavior that is not easily predicted even knowing the capabilities of individuals. For example, how does our perception of the world result from just simple nerve cells sending essentially binary signals? How does an ant colony make a collective decision among nest sites that vary in a series of traits? How does a complex multicellular organism emerge from initially identical embryonal cells? The science of complexity studies how such collective behaviors emerge from the actions and interactions of individuals in a system. This research has generated both philosophical questions (what is emergence?) and engineering applications (how to manage an efficient internet).

The class will meet at 11am on Mondays in Biological Sciences West 237.

Readings and other material are available on the D2L course website, which is accessible to enrolled students from the beginning of the semester.

Please email me if you have any questions about the class: