Complex Adaptive Systems
Complex Adaptive Systems is an international MSc programme at the Departments of Technical Physics (Chalmers University of Technology) and Physics (University of Gothenburg) in Gothenburg, Sweden. The programme is taught jointly with the Erasmus Mundus programme in Complex Systems Science - a joint MSc degree programme between the Ecole Polytechnique (Paris), the University of Warwick (Coventry), Chalmers University of Technology, and the University of Gothenburg.
Scientists and engineers face the challenge of understanding and controlling increasingly complex systems in the world around us. Examples are: highly complex networks regulating gene expression in our body, the dynamics of rain clouds influencing the climate of our earth, and the dynamics of economic markets determining the stability of the global economy.
Computer simulations and statistical approaches are the methods of choice in describing and increasing our understanding of such complex systems. Applying these methods requires a sound understanding of the microscopic processes underlying the complex dynamics in question, be it in physical, biological, or even societal systems. Moreover, in the past decade it has become increasingly clear that complex systems occurring in nature provide a wealth of new ideas to solve engineering problems: genetic algorithms and genetic programming, for example, are based on evolutionary processes in nature; the construction of articial life, the designs of autonomous robots and software agents have been successfully based on behaviour observed in biological systems.
The idea of the programme is to provide an interdisciplinary and international learning environment for students wishing to acquire the understanding, skills, and judgment required to model and control the dynamics of complex systems in the world around us. This requires in-depth mathematical understanding, as well as practical experience with computer simulations, and last but not least familiarity with modeling techniques. In this sense the idea is very similar to the general goal of a traditional education in Physics, and the programme is a natural choice for Physics undergraduates. The difference lies in the interdisciplinary perspective: systems and phenomena in widely dierent elds of the Natural Sciences and in Engineering can be understood in terms of similar mathematical methods and modeling & simulation approaches. This fact makes the programme interesting for students from other Engineering and Natural-Science disciplines.