InstructorJ. Colchester
TypeOnline Course
Student Enrolled17
Certificate60% of quiz marks
(2 ratings)

Complexity Theory Introduction

This course is an introduction to the core concepts within complexity theory, an exciting new area that is offering us a fresh perspective on issues such as understanding our financial system, the environment, and large social organizations. The aim of this course is to bring the often abstract and sophisticated concepts of this subject down to earth and understandable in an intuitive form. After having started with an overview of complex systems this course will focus upon five of the core concepts.

Systems Thinking & Theory

We will start with two sections on systems theory and systems thinking, this should introduce students to the bigger picture of why complex systems is seen as a new paradigm in science; what exactly this new paradigm is; why we need it and lastly how it differs from our traditional methods of scientific inquiry.

Nonlinear Systems

The term nonlinear science and complex systems are often used interchangeably showing how essential the concept of non-linearity is to this subject. In this section, we draw the distinction between linear and nonlinear systems and see why it matters. The second part of this section covers the subject of chaos theory and the dynamics of nonlinear systems.

Network Theory

Networks, in general, have arisen in almost all fields of inquiry in the past few decades making it one of the most active and exciting areas of scientific study. We will explore many different types of networks, their properties, and examples in the real world from social networks to logistics networks. This section will conclude by looking at graph theory, the mathematical foundations that lie behind networks.

Complex Adaptive Systems

CAS is increasingly being used to model a wide variety of systems from, electrical power grids to economies and cultures it represents a powerful new way of seeing the world. This section will also cover CAS’s close relative cybernetics and the basic concept of adaptation and evolution. Self-organization is another of the foundational concepts within complex systems that is proving particularly relevant to the world of the 21st century as we see collaborative self-organizing groups such as Wikipedia and the Linux foundation emerge. But self-organization is more than just a social phenomenon, we explore how it is, in fact, ubiquitous in our world from the formation of fish schools to magnetization and traffic jams.

Section 1Overview
Lecture 1Preliminaries
Lecture 2Complexity Theory
Lecture 3Complexity Theory Summary
Lecture 4Complexity Science
Lecture 5Digging Deeper
Section Quiz
Section 2Systems Theory
Lecture 6Systems Thinking
Lecture 7Digging Deeper
Lecture 8Systems Theory
Lecture 9Digging Deeper
Section Quiz
Section 3Nonlinear Systems
Lecture 10Nonlinear Systems
Lecture 11Chaos Theory
Section Quiz
Section 4Network Theory
Lecture 12Network Theory
Lecture 13Digging Deeper
Section Quiz
Section 5Complex Adaptive Systems
Lecture 14Complex Adaptive Systems
Lecture 15Digging Deeper
Section Quiz
Section 6Self-Organization
Lecture 16Self-Organization
Lecture 17Digging Deeper
Section Quiz
Section 7Applications
Lecture 18Earth Systems Science
Lecture 19Socio-Technical Systems
Lecture 20Complexity Economics
Lecture 21Digging Deeper
Lecture 22Social Network Analysis
Lecture 23Diggin Deeper
Section 8Conclusion