New England Complex Systems Institute Winter School

October 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

The early registration deadline for NECSI Winter School is November 7. The dates of the program are as follows:

Jan. 2-6, 2012 / Complex Physical, Biological & Social Systems
Jan. 8, 2012 / Computer Programming and Complex Systems
Jan. 9-13, 2012 / Complex Systems Modeling and Networks

These courses are intended for faculty, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, professionals and others who would like to gain an understanding of the fundamentals of complex systems, and develop methodological tools for conducting research in their respective fields, or as a basis for pursuing complex systems research.

The winter school offers two intensive week-long courses. The courses consist of lectures, discussions, 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. If desired,arrangements for credit at a home institution may be made in advance.

See course descriptions below or online at:

– – – – – – – – – –
CX201: Complex Physical, Biological and Social Systems

Dates: January 2-6, 2012
Location: MIT, Cambridge, MA

This course offers an introduction to the essential concepts of complex systems and related mathematical methods and simulation strategies with application to physical, biological and social systems. The course will particularly focus on the use of multiscale representations as a unifying approach to complex systems concepts, methods and applications.

Concepts to be discussed include: emergence, complexity, networks, self-organization, pattern formation, evolution,adaptation, fractals, chaos, cooperation, competition, attractors, interdependence, scaling, dynamic response, information, and function.

Methods to be discussed include: statistical methods, cellular automata, agent-based modeling, pattern recognition, system representation and informatics.

CX102: Computer Programming and Complex Systems

Date: January 8, 2012
Location: MIT, Cambridge, MA

This course introduces computer programming in the Python language for those with little or no computer programming experience. It is designed as a precursor to CX202.

The course will present programming concepts and hands-on exercises. Topics to be covered include: data structures, algorithms, variables and assignments, numerical and logical operations, lists and dictionaries, user-defined functions, flow control, loops, and visualization.

CX202: Complex Systems Modeling and Networks

Dates: January 9-13, 2012
Location: MIT, Cambridge, MA

This course provides (a) an introduction to building models of complex systems (physical, biological, social and engineered), and (b) the study of networks, including topologies and dynamics of real world networks.

The course 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 program. 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, and 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, influence, transport, transformation, and structure.

NOTE: Students without a background in programming are strongly recommended to attend CX102: Computer Programming and Complex Systems in conjunction with CX202.

For more information and registration, visit:

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