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Winter Academic Term 2004 Course Guide

Note: You must establish a session for Winter Academic Term 2004 on wolverineaccess.umich.edu in order to use the link "Check Times, Location, and Availability". Once your session is established, the links will function.

Courses in Complex Systems


This page was created at 8:06 PM on Wed, Jan 21, 2004.

Winter Academic Term, 2004 (January 6 - April 30)



CMPLXSYS 501. An Introduction to Complex Systems.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Rick L Riolo (rlriolo@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Graduate standing or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl). (BS). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://www.cscs.umich.edu/education/CSCS-courses/cscs501-w04.html

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.

Final details of the syllabus of readings will be announced as the term proceeds, as some readings will be determined only after the class begins, based on the expressed interests of the participants. Some of those readings are from books we will buy. Others will be in a couple of course packs.

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: TBA -- about mid term 
3. Short paper II  33%
 Due: TBA -- end of term

Important note regarding registration:
The course is currently listed with a cap of 12 students. The final course size will be in the 16-18 range. If you are interested in registering, please just get on the waitlist. We will be give priority in this order:

  • CSCS students
  • other graduate students
  • undergraduates

generally with first-come-first serve within each category, but with some bias given to students who are about to graduate (and so cannot take the course in future terms).
In past years, everyone who has wanted to stay in the course has been able to, even when the waiting list starts out fairly large, as people sign up now but drop before the term starts, or drop after they find out how hard the course is going to be (! ;-)), etc. So if you are interested, I recommend you get on the waitlist, come to the first class or two, and then we can see what shakes out.

If you have questions, feel free to contact me.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

CMPLXSYS 530. Computer Modeling of Complex Systems.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Rick L Riolo (rlriolo@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Enrollment in certificate program or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl). (BS). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://www.pscs.umich.edu/education/CSCS-courses/cscs530/

Goals of CMPLXSYS 530

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the basic concepts, tools and issues which arise when using computers to model complex (adaptive) systems (CAS). The emphasis will be on agent-based, bottom-up computer models. (We will only briefly look at other approaches.) The bulk of the course will involve "learning by example", i.e., students will:

  • read, discuss, evaluate a number of models from a variety of disciplines.
  • Modify and run experiments with exisiting models.
  • Design, implement, run, write-up results from their own models.

The course will cover all aspects of the modeling process itself, from model design through implementation to analyzing, documenting and communicating results.

This course is:

  • Not IOE 474: That coursefocuses on DES models for "Operations Research (OR)" type questions (queuing, stocks and flows, etc).
  • Not IOE 640: That course focuses on mathematical models (of OR type problems, I think).

The emphasis in CSCS 530 is on "Exploratory Models" of more generic complex (adaptive) systems and/or phenomena (vs. "predictive" models for specific situations).

Classwork and grades: Projects and their influence on a course-grade are as follows:

  1. Class discussion 20% (An incentive to read and discuss!)
  2. Short paper 20%
  3. Small computer modeling project(s) 20%
  4. Term project 40%
    1. Proposal (5%)
    2. Class Presentation (5%)
    3. Paper (30%)

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1


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This page was created at 8:06 PM on Wed, Jan 21, 2004.


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