Overview of Complex Systems

Complex systems science changes the way we think about science and its role in society. It goes beyond the traditional, reductionist approach of focusing on the parts of a system, to integrating the network of relationships within and between systems. These relationships produce the "emergent" behaviors we see in all physical, biological, social, economic and technological systems. This approach allows researchers to address questions once considered to be outside the reach of science, including human behavior, social interactions and the consequences of policies and decisions of our society.

The New England Complex Systems Institute is at the forefront of this field. We develop novel mathematical approaches and apply them to issues important to science and society, such as preserving biodiversity, understanding the origins of altruism, improving the healthcare system, and preventing ethnic violence or economic crisis. We combine a quantitative foundation in physics, computer science and mathematics with computer simulations and high dimensional data analysis to describe real world patterns of behavior. We model the evolution of complex systems and how they can best achieve their goals.

Through its research, NECSI is expanding the boundaries of knowledge and reframing social problems as scientific ones.

Notable Publications

Y. Bar-Yam, Complexity theory applied to policy worldwide, in Modeling Complex Systems for Public Policies, B.A. Furtado, P.A.M. Sakowski, M.H. Tóvolli, Eds. (2015) p. 239.

Y. Bar-Yam, Making Things Work: Solving Complex Problems in a Complex World (2005).

Y. Bar-Yam, Unifying principles in complex systems, in Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science, M.C. Roco and W.S. Bainbridge, Eds. (Kluwer, 2003) p. 380.

Y. Bar-Yam, General Features of Complex Systems, Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS UNESCO Publishers, Oxford, UK, 2002).

M. Baranger, Chaos, Complexity, and Entropy (2000).

Y. Bar-Yam, Complexity rising: From human beings to human civilization, a complexity profile, Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS UNESCO Publishers, Oxford, UK, 2002); also NECSI Report 1997-12-01 (1997).

Y. Bar-Yam, Dynamics of Complex Systems (1997).



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