NECSI Courses in Complexity

Week 1: CX201 | Lab: CX102 | Week 2: CX202 | Student Reviews | Register

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Winter Session 2017

Dates: January 2 - 13

Location: MIT, Cambridge, MA

  • Week 1: January 2-6 CX201: Complex Physical, Biological and Social Systems

  • Lab: January 8 CX102: Computer Programming and Complex Systems

  • Week 2: January 9-13 CX202: Complex Systems Modeling, Networks, and Data Analytics

    NECSI lecture
  • NECSI's Courses in Complexity offer two intensive week-long courses on complex systems science and its applications. The courses consist of lecture and supervised group projects. Though the second week builds on material covered in the previous week, CX201 is not a prerequisite for CX202. You may register for either, or both weeks.

  • At the end of the courses, we expect participants to return to their home institution with tools relevant to their research and new insights for future work.

  • The CX102 lab is strongly recommended to prepare students with little computer programming experience for CX202.

    Guest Lecturers

  • Nassim Nicholas Taleb spent 21 years as a risk taker before becoming a researcher in philosophical, mathematical and (mostly) practical problems with probability. Taleb is the author of a multivolume essay, the Incerto (The Black Swan, Fooled by Randomness, and Antifragile) covering broad facets of uncertainty. It has been translated into 36 languages. In addition to his trader life, Taleb has also published, as a backup of the Incerto, more than 45 scholarly papers in statistical physics, statistics, philosophy, ethics, economics, international affairs, and quantitative finance, all around the notion of risk and probability. He spent time as a professional researcher (Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at NYU's School of Engineering and Dean's Professor at U. Mass Amherst). His current focus is on the properties of systems that can handle disorder ("antifragile"). Taleb refuses all honors and anything that "turns knowledge into a spectator sport."

  • Cesar Hidalgo is an assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab, where he leads the Macro Connections group, and is a faculty associate at Harvard University's Center for International Development. Hidalgo's work focuses on improving the understanding of systems by using and developing concepts of complexity, evolution, and network science; his goal is to help improve understanding of the evolution of prosperity in order to help develop industrial policies that can help countries raise the living standards of their citizens. His areas of application include economic development, systems biology, and social systems. A native of Santiago de Chile, Hidalgo holds a PhD in physics from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor's degree in physics from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. With Ricardo Hausmann et al., he is co-author of The Atlas of Economic Complexity (2011). His most recent book is Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies (Basic Books, 2015).

    Remote Lecturer

  • Doyne Farmer is Director of the Complexity Economics program at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, Professor in the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford, and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. His current research is in economics, including agent-based modeling, financial instability and technological progress. He was a founder of Prediction Company, a quantitative automated trading firm that was sold to the United Bank of Switzerland in 2006. His past research includes complex systems, dynamical systems theory, time series analysis and theoretical biology. During the eighties he was an Oppenheimer Fellow and the founder of the Complex Systems Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. While a graduate student in the 70s he built the first wearable digital computer, which was successfully used to predict the game of roulette.

    Group Projects

  • Group projects are one of the most rewarding parts of the winter and summer courses. Participants split into project teams and put together a publication quality research project using complex systems tools learned during the week. On the final day of each week, groups present their projects. We consistently receive positive feedback about the projects.


  • Monday – Thursday:
    Lecture 9 AM – 5 PM
    Group Projects 6 PM – 8 PM

  • Friday:
    Group Presentation 9 AM – 12 PM
    Evaluations and Class Photo 12 – 12:15 PM
    Exam (required if taking course for credit, optional otherwise) 12:30 – 1:30 PM


  • Arrangements to receive credit for NECSI courses at a home institution should be made in advance. To do so, contact us at


  • Click here to register with a credit card



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