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Complexity: can it be simplified?

Complexity: can it be simplified?

What do economic crises, traffic jams, consciousness, the climate, immune systems and flocks of birds have in common? They can all be described as complex systems.

What do economic crises, traffic jams, consciousness, the climate, immune systems and flocks of birds have in common? They can all be described as complex systems.

These systems are characterized by a certain pattern or regularity at the collective level, which is driven by a multitude of interacting components that in their turn are affected by the collective dynamics. In other words: not only is the whole more than the sum of its parts, but changing system behavior also has feedback on the individual components. Complex systems are self-organizing, largely beyond central control, often adaptive but under certain conditions self-destructive.

This course provides a unique opportunity to acquire insights into complex systems, and to learn about the models that are used to represent and examine these systems. It is intended for a broad audience and shows that a general understanding of complexity is possible without understanding all technicalities of the models. There is also a sense of urgency: given the current problems of our world, it is crucially important that students learn about complexity and acquire the skills to use its insights in their future professions, be it business, government, journalism or science.

To decide if you will like this course, this clip is useful: https://youtu.be/eJAs9Qr359o

Recommended prior knowledge

This course can be followed without background in math or programming. However, formal modeling will be paid some attention to in the lectures, and for Master students who want to follow this course, a computational (or math) model is obligatory in their group assignment (see below).

Lecturer(s)

This course is a joint effort by the IIS and the Institute for Advanced Study, coordinated by dhr. dr. J.P. (Jeroen) Bruggeman (j.p.bruggeman@uva.nl).

Teaching format

The program consists of two parts:

  • First part: a series of lectures of 1,5 hours (including questions and discussion), given by researchers from the natural sciences on the general approach and methods.
  • Second part: students will work in small groups on self-chosen projects, supervised by a teacher.

Timetable

See Datanose.

Course materials

  • Melanie Mitchell (2011). Complexity, a guided tour. Oxford University Press.

Costs

  • Book, approximately 14 euro at online shops.
  • For external candidates, see website.

Number of participants

Max. 70

Assessment

  • Interim exam (first part)
  • Collective essay and presentation (second part)

Registration

UvA students

  • UvA-students can register themselves from June 11, (look for code 5512COMP6Y in SIS) until a week before the start of the course.

If you have any trouble while registering please contact: Keuzeonderwijs-iis@uva.nl 

Register in SIS (UvA students only)

Other parties

  • Other parties, such as contract students, UvA staff or students from other institutions, interested can register from June 11, through the registration form.

 

If you have any trouble while registering please contact: Keuzeonderwijs-iis@uva.nl 

Complexity: can it be simplified?
Mode Short-term, open uva courses
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Conditions for admission Open
Starts in September