NECSI Winter School 2008

Date: Jan 7-18, 2007

Location: MIT, Cambridge, MA

Week 1: Jan. 7-11
                CX201: Complex Physical, Biological and Social Systems

Week 2: Jan 14-18
               CX202: Networks, Modeling and Evolution

CX202 Modeling, Networks, and Evolution of Complex Systems
This course provides an introduction to building models of complex systems (physical, biological, social and engineering), networks architectures and evolutionary processes.

It will cover the basic construction and analysis of models including identifying what is to be modeled, constructing a mathematical representation, analysis tools and implementing and simulating the model in a computer simulation. Particular attention will be paid to choosing the right level of detail for the model, testing its robustness, and discussing which questions a given model can or cannot answer.

The study of networks will introduce the use of network topologies and the characterization of networks describing complex systems, including such concepts as small worlds, degree distribution, diameter, clustering coefficient, modules, motifs. Different types of network topologies and network behaviors that model aspects of real complex systems will be described including: modular, sparse, random, scale-free, and modular & scale free, influence, transport, transformaion, and structure.

The study of evolution will include the basic principles of evolutionary dynamics, its application and mechanisms in biological systems as well as socio-cultural and artificial contexts. Key concepts in traditional Neo-darwinian and more recent developments will be covered including: gene-centered view, fitness landscapes, evolutionary stability, co-evolution, group and strain selection, spatial evolutionary systems, selfishness and altruism, diversity, memetic evolution, genetic algorithms and other artificial evolutionary systems, and the origin of life.

There will be supervised group projects as an integral part of the course.

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