CMPLXSYS 501 - An Introduction to Complex Systems
Section: 001
Term: FA 2011
Subject: Complex Systems (CMPLXSYS)
Department: LSA Complex Systems
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Graduate standing or permission of instructor.
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Goals of CMPLXSYS 501:

This course covers a broad range of fundamental topics relevant to the study of complex systems. The course work involves weekly readings and discussion of papers and selections from books. The readings focus on "classics" in the complex systems literature, in order to give students a broad, general understanding for the variety of work that falls under the rubric of complex systems. Topics to be covered will include evolutionary systems, self-organized criticality, measures of complexity, approaches to modeling complex adaptive systems, and emergence. Authors to be covered include Holland, Axelrod, Kauffman, Bak, and Gell-Mann, Wolfram, Simon and many others.

Classwork and grades: Grading will be based on participation in the discussions and on two papers:

1. Class discussion                      33%   
   (An incentive to read and discuss!)

2. Short paper I                         33%
   Due:  DD Oct 2007

3. Short paper II                        33%
   Due:  DD Dec 2007

Actual readings for CSCS 501 Fall 2007:

Books which you will want to purchase include:

  • Waldrup: Complexity -- CSCS has copies for sale; Ask Howard Oishi in the office.
  • Kelley: Out of Control This seems to be online here.
  • Flake: The Computational Beauty of Nature
  • Holland: Hidden Order
  • Ricard Sole and Brian Goodwin: Signs of Life
  • Stephen Strogatz. Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order
  • Watts: Six Degrees (Maybe this book, too: Barabasi, Linked)
  • Kauffmann: At Home in the Universe

    Electronic Reserve (readings not online and not in required books):
    UM's E-Reserves page for this course.
    More e-reserves are here!

    Some other interesting pages:
    Home page for the journal Complexity
    Biomorphs (and other ALife related material)
    Site for the Gary Flake book (animated and enhanced pics)
    Cobweb steps(try vary x0 and a)
    more cobweb
    Henon map
    Lorenz attractor (try lower field strength and decrease number of particles)
    More Lorenz (better overall shape)
    The Chaos hypertextbook descriptions and good diagrams, etc

    For a brief explanation of edge of chaos and cellular automata and a nifty applet, check out
    CA applet
    Paul Callahan's Game of Life pages

  • CMPLXSYS 501 - An Introduction to Complex Systems
    Schedule Listing
    001 (LEC)
    MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
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