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Proposal for a UVM Transdisciplinary Research Initiative in Complex Systems Complex Systems TRI Working Group: Assoc. Prof. Margaret J. Eppstein, Computer.

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Presentation on theme: "Proposal for a UVM Transdisciplinary Research Initiative in Complex Systems Complex Systems TRI Working Group: Assoc. Prof. Margaret J. Eppstein, Computer."— Presentation transcript:

1 Proposal for a UVM Transdisciplinary Research Initiative in Complex Systems Complex Systems TRI Working Group: Assoc. Prof. Margaret J. Eppstein, Computer Science, (Chair) Asst. Prof. Chris Danforth, Mathematics Assoc. Prof. Charles Hulse, Family Medicine Prof. Charles Irvin, Medicine Asst. Prof. David Novak, Business Asst. Prof. Alessandra Rellini, Psychology Assoc. Prof. Donna Rizzo, Engineering Prof. Russell Tracy, Pathology Asst. Prof. Asim Zia, Public Administration

2 What is Complex Systems Science and why is it important?

3 Complex Systems Comprise: Collections of (heterogeneous) entities (molecules, cells, genes, fish, plants, people, electrical substations, planets, etc.) These entities can compute (have I/O, state) Entities interact with other entities and their environment Interactions are localized and self-organizing (nonlinear, dynamic, possibly chaotic)

4 Collective Dynamics of a Complex System give rise to Emergent Properties at higher scales in space and/or time e.g., cooperation such as swarming; intelligence, consciousness; genetic regulation – homeostasis, development, disease; cascading failures in electrical grid; invasiveness in plants; hurricanes; self-repairing materials; Life; etc.

5 Complex Physical, Biological, and Social Systems often have similar properties e.g., interaction network topologies, scaling phenomena, phase transitions, tipping points, robustness, adaptability, pattern formation, dynamics at the edge-of-chaos, etc. Similar theoretical, mathematical and computational approaches can be applied to diverse systems. Can we understand, and potentially engineer, the emergent properties of complex systems?



8 Food web Power GridRegulatory network

9 Climate dynamicsEcosystemsEpileptic seizures

10 The Promise of Complex Systems research is that universal principles learned from one area could lead to exciting breakthroughs in seemingly unrelated disciplines -- NSF Solicitation 09-610 Building Engineering Complex Systems

11 Complex Systems Theory and Methods Agent-based modeling (including cell automata) Chaos, Fractals, & Dynamical systems theory Complex Network science Game Theory Multi-scale modeling Distributed control Nonlinear pattern recognition and data mining Evolutionary, Adaptive, Developmental approaches Bio-inspired Computing (ANNs, EC) Etc. Data Collection Technology High-throughput Microarrays Molecular Imaging Distributed Sensor Networks Web mining, Etc. Computational Capabilities Massive Data Storage Rapid Data Access Processor speed Distributed and parallel computing Etc. Increasing Recognition of the Limits of Reductionism Complex Systems Science is at an exciting time of Maturation

12 Consequently, there has been a recent Call to Arms for using Complex Systems Approaches in a variety of Disciplines, by prominent scientists and engineers in top journals.




16 2006



19 ComPlexUs 2003 Spread of Crime Traffic jams Marriage






25 Complex Systems is highly fundable: Complex Systems play a prominent role in the strategic plans and current funding opportunities (including solicitations for large center grants) at NSF, NIH, DOE, DHS, and other funding agencies.


27 Building Blocks, Biological Pathways, and Networks Complex elementsfrom individual genes to entire organswork together in a feat of biological teamwork to promote normal development and sustain health. These systems work because of intricate and interconnected pathways that enable communication among genes, molecules, and cells. Scientists are still working to discover all of these pathways and to determine how disturbances in them may lead to disease. Nanomedicine A long-term goal of this NIH Roadmap is to create materials and devices at the level of molecules and atoms to cure disease or repair damaged tissues, such as bone, muscle, or nerve. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, too small to be seen with a conventional lab microscope. And it is at this scale that biological molecules and structures inside living cells operate. Researchers have set their sights on replacing broken parts of a cell with miniature biological devices and searching out and destroying infectious agents before they do harm.



30 Opportunities for Grad Education have lagged behind this growing demand: Non-credit summer schools (e.g., Santa Fe Inst., New England Complex Systems Inst, etc.) Graduate Certificates or tracks (e.g., UVM, U. Mich, Duke, Ind. U) PhDs in certain aspects of Complex Systems (CalTech, U. Minn, Harvard, MIT, Case Western, Fl. Atl. U.) NSF IGERTs in complex systems areas (Northwestern, Cornell, Carnegie-Mellon, Johns-Hopkins, U. Mich., U. Nebr. Lincl., Ind. U.) A few foreign PhDs (Sweden, Japan)

31 Opportunities for Grad Education have lagged behind this growing demand: BUT no stand-alone PhD in Complex Systems in the US. NO academic institutions using Complex Systems as a unifying campus-wide transdisciplinary theme. BIG OPPORTUNITY FOR UVM TO FILL THIS NICHE AND STAND OUT OUR RELATIVELY SMALL SIZE AND COMPACT CAMPUS WILL HELP

32 What are UVMs current strengths in Complex Systems?

33 Interest in Complex Systems has blossomed across campus: Since 2000: Grass-roots group in natural computing and agent-based modeling (biology, plant biology, computer science, engineering); reading groups, courses, publications, grants, etc. 2006 faculty organized VACC-funded Biocomplexity Retreat (molecular to ecological scales): 33 faculty from 5 colleges. 2006 CEMS thrust: Complex Systems Center, 30 faculty from across campus, listserve (248 recipients), reading group (72 on email list), speakers, GRAs, CSYS courses, etc. 2006-2010: 6 New CEMS Complex Systems Hires in Computer Science, Mathematics, and Engineering (Civil, Electrical, Biomedical)

34 Interest in Complex Systems has blossomed across campus: 2007-2010: NSF EPSCoR RII Complex Systems Thinking and Modeling for Environmental Problem Solving ($6.7M); funded group collaboration biocomplexity and watershed experts plus 15 pilot projects and many GRAs across campus. Building relationships with external enterprises: $1B+ Mitre Corp opening satellite office at UVM, similar discussions with IBM Research, Sandia Natl. Labs. Complex Ecosystems Modeling at Gund Institute for Ecological Economics Complex Materials Research by transdisciplinary Materials Science Group Various researchers from systems biology to complex social and governance structures

35 Sources of data regarding UVM faculty interest in Complex Systems: 1)Complex Systems Center Faculty Member profiles (30) 2)Survey Respondents (139 responses, 112 complete, 105 research active, 85 provided names) 3)Additional memos to committee (27 written, many oral) At least 50 faculty self-describe their research as all or partly in Complex Systems: 13 in core theory and methods who work in multiple application domains (in Comp Sci, Math, Engr), 37 who work largely in specific application domains (Med, MPBP, CDAE, BSAD, Pbio, Biochem, Engr, Phys, Phil, Biol, RSENR, Gund). At least another 50 faculty either already do, or would like to, collaborate with Complex Systems faculty to bring a Complex Systems component into their research (Med, Neurosci, Psych, An. Sci, Biol, Geol, BSAD, Ed, Engr, RSENR, Math, MMG, Neurol, Nursing, PSS, Psych, Rom. Lang.) These numbers are conservative estimates.

36 Stuart Kauffman is joining UVM next 3 fall semesters as research professor in Biochemistry and Mathematics A founder of the field of Complex Systems MacArthur Genius Fellow Helped establish the Santa Fe Institute Emeritus Professor of Biochem at U. Penn. Founded Bios Group (Complex Systems Business Consulting) Founded Inst. for Biocomplexity & Informatics at U. Calgary ~300 peer-reviewed papers 5 books Runs a science blog on Extremely well-cited (e.g., over 4000 citations on Origins of Order)

37 Current Graduate Education in Complex Systems at UVM: Certificate of Graduate Study in Complex Systems (5 courses) (Started Fall 2009; 9 matriculated, 3 applying, more interested) CSYS/Math 300: Principles of Complex Systems CSYS/CS 302: Modeling Complex Systems CSYS/Math 266: Chaos, Fractals & Dynamical Systems CSYS/Math 303: Complex Networks CSYS/Biol/CS 352: Evolutionary Computation CSYS/Stat/CS 256: Neural Computation CSYS/Stat/CS 355: Statistical Pattern Recognition CSYS/Stat/CE 369: Applied Geostatistics CSYS/CE 359: Applied Artificial Neural Networks CSYS/Math 268: Mathematical Biol & Ecol CSYS/CS 251: Artificial Intelligence CSYS/ME 312: Multi-scale Bioengr Systems CSYS/ME 350: Multi-scale modeling PA 308: Decision Making Models PA 317: Systems Anal & Strategic Management Biol 271: Evolution Phys 265: Thermal Physics Core CSYS Theory and Methods Application- domain specific CSYS courses

38 What do we envision for Complex Systems at UVM?

39 Core Complex Systems Theory and Methods Complex Systems Application Domains Develop Full Range of Options Complex Systems synergizes with other Disciplinary Areas

40 Core Complex Systems Theory and Methods Complex Systems Application Domains Complex Systems synergizes with other Disciplinary Areas new umbrella PhD in Complex Systems, with named tracks* *46 New Complex Systems Tracks, within existing strong PhDs ** **54 Core Complex Systems Theory and Methods

41 Complex Systems Application Domains Complex Systems synergizes with other Disciplinary Areas Transdisciplinary Complex Systems Matrix Center or School: Faculty Joint Appts in Complex Systems (1 ary and 2 ary ) and another Discipline

42 Provide opportunities and time for Faculty Development and New Collaborations in Complex Systems at UVM CSYS Seminars (application-domain specific)79% CSYS Seminars (wider audience)77% 1-day intensive Workshops in CSYS methodologies73% Loosely organized get-togethers62% UVM-based CSYS conference56% Pilot funding for transdisciplinary CSYS collaborations90% Faculty fellowships: release time for developing projects87% Faculty fellowships: release time for prof. development80% Visiting CSYS scholars in residence for 1-3 months79% Transdisciplinary CSYS GRAs67% Co-housing for transdisipilinary CSYS grad students63% Co-housing for transdisipilinary CSYS faculty51% Interested in attending Important for CSYS Spire Ultimately sustained by partial return of grant overheads to Complex Systems Center or School

43 Continue to Establish strong relationships with other institutions around Complex Systems: Bring high-skills jobs and companies to VT Promote industry-sponsored funding for grad students Develop relevant cutting-edge applied research at UVM Promote technology transfer from UVM to business and industry STIMULATE VERMONT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OVPR

44 3 Investment Scenarios High Resource Medium Resource Low Resource Number of new Core CSYS theory and methods faculty 15105 Number of new disciplinary scholars using CSYS 9 (3 in each of 3 areas*) 6 (3 in each of 2 areas*) 3 (in one area*) Expected Outcomes UVM becomes international leader in CSYS UVM establishes strong national presence in CSYS Minimum necessary for a successful CSYS PhD Potential CSYS Resource Investment Scenarios *Solicit competitive proposals from faculty to select disciplinary areas

45 Complex Systems is a uniquely trans-disciplinary area that: a)Is intellectually rich, scientifically important, eminently fundable, and a ripe opportunity for strategic investment b)Has strong grass-roots strengths and excitement among UVM faculty, imminent arrival of Stuart Kauffman c) Can create a unifying theme to connect and synergize currently separated pockets of strength on campus d)Can help to strengthen and synergize with other strong programs e)Offers UVM a unique opportunity to become the World- Class Leader in this area f)Has strong potential to stimulate VT economic development GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR STRATEGIC INVESTMENT at UVM!

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