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2–5 December 2019, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia
Complexity, Criticality and Computation Symposium (C3-2019)
What makes a system ‘complex’? A system can be thought of as complex if its dynamics cannot be easily predicted, or explained, as a linear superposition of the individual dynamics of its components. In other words, the many constituent microscopic parts bring about macroscopic phenomena that cannot be understood by considering a single part alone (‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’). There is a growing awareness that complexity is strongly related to criticality: the behaviour of dynamical spatiotemporal systems at an order/disorder phase transition where scale invariance prevails.
Complex systems can also be viewed as distributed information-processing systems. Consciousness emerging from neuronal activity and interactions, cell behaviour resultant from gene regulatory networks and swarming behaviour are all examples of global system behaviour emerging as a result of the local interactions of the individuals (neurons, genes, animals). Can these interactions be seen as a generic computational process? This question shapes the third component of our symposium, linking computation to complexity and criticality.
We will consider a diverse range of theoretical and practical approaches, including information theory, agent-based simulation, statistical physics, network theory, nonlinear dynamics, swarm intelligence, evolutionary methods, computational neuroscience, artificial life, computational epidemiology, and econophysics, among others.