||Introduction and administrivia
||No class (MLK day)
|3 ||1/26|| Survival lessons from birds and fishes |
|4 ||2/2 || Why am I living in this neighborhood? |
|5 ||2/9 || A weird world where we don't know how large we are |
|6 ||2/16|| Are cities like animals? |
|7 ||2/23|| Why are my friends better than I? |
|8 ||3/2 || You won't believe what this class will cover. |
|9 ||3/9 || Catch me if you can |
|10||3/16 ||Spring break |
|12||3/30|| Dilemmas in back scratching behaviors in prisons |
|13||4/6 || Braaainz! |
|14||4/13|| Bananas, Lego, and Subprime mortgage crisis|
|15||4/20|| Is Florida a human's graveyard? |
|16||4/27 ||Final project presentation |
|17||5/4 ||Final Exam week |
|17||5/8 ||Final paper deadline |
Complex systems are everywhere from
living cells to our society. Complex interactions in these systems
bring about fascinating emergenet phenomena. To understand them,
complex systems approach leverages mathematical and computational
tools, and uncover simple governing rules and universalities across
complex systems. The study of complex systems is inherently
interdisciplinary thanks to the general applicability of methods and
universalities of phenomena. This course will overview the study of
complex systems, revolving around the following questions:
What are the complex systems around us? What
characterizes complex systems? How can we understand complex
systems? How can we apply the approach to other systems?
The main objective of this course is to support your
research on complex systems and the project will be the most
important part of the course. In addition, we will also talk about
the mechanisms of science itself as well as practical aspects of
- Time & Location
- Informatics West 122
First meeting: Jan. 12th, 2015
- Yong-Yeol Ahn (YY)
Office: Informatics East Room 316
Phone: (812) 856 2920
Office hours: Tuesday 4pm-5:30pm; I'm happy to talk
right after the class or by appointment
(you can email me or
use MeetMe: http://doodle.com/yyahn)
- All announcements and communication about the course will be
through the course mailing
list and Canvas.
- No textbook required. Readings (mostly scientific papers) will be
- This course is open only to graduate students. There is no formal
prerequisite but basic understanding of probability, information
theory, and linear algebra, as well as some experiences in
programming will be assumed.
The deliverables are:
- Project proposal (Due: 2/23): this document should convincingly
state the motivation (why should we care?), provide a review of
existing related work (what have been already done?), and lay out
your approach (how can it be solved?)
- Proposal presentation: We will follow the Ignite
format. You can have 20 slides and each slide will
auto-advance every 15 seconds. Let me know when you
want to present.
- Checkpoint I (3/23): a draft for the final paper. Although I will
discuss and give feedbacks throughout the class, I believe that it is
helpful to have a couple of checkpoint where you can mentally hinge
- Checkpoint II (4/13): a draft for the final paper.
- Project presentation (4/27).
- Final paper (5/8): you are expected to submit a formal,
publishable research paper. The strength of the results, which cannot
be controlled by you, will not be judged and negative results will be
equally valued as long as the paper presents technically valid
approach. I am happy to discuss about the project any time and
feedbacks will be given throughout the course.
Submit a review on the topic by Sunday midnight, a day before the
class. The reviews should focus on the key questions and are expected
to go beyond the key readings. The following questions may be helpful:
- Why should we care about this?
- What is the key idea of the paper?
- What would be alternative approaches?
- What are the caveats and limitations?
- What have we learned?
- How can the results be applied to other problems?
- What would be interesting, relevant problems that we can study using similar approach?
Assigned moderators will make a brief presentation about the topic. We
will pause and discuss for each discussion question. The presenters
will be expected to put significantly more efforts on the literature
review and the assignment. When you prepare the presentation, ask
yourself the same questions above.
- Announcements will be sent via the mailing list and/or canvas.
- You are expected to attend every class (unless excused prior to
the class), do proper research on the topic, and participate in class
discussions actively and collegially.
- Unless explicitly asked, laptops and other electronic devices
should not be used during the class.
- You have the responsibility of backing up all their data and
code. Today is International
Backup Awareness Day! You need to use http://github.iu.edu for projects
and paper reviews.
- Please contact the instructor if you have a disability that
require some arrangements so that appropriate arrangements can be
- The grading will be based on the three parts: course project
(presentation, paper, etc.), paper review and presentation, and class
participation. Each category will take 40%, 30%, and 30%
- The principles of academic honesty and ethics will be enforced.
Any cases of academic misconduct (cheating, fabrication, plagiarism,
etc) will be thoroughly investigated and immediately reported to
the School and the Dean of Students. IU Code of Student Rights,
Responsibilities, and Conduct
Books and review papers
- James P. Sethna, Statistical
Mechanics: Entropy, Order Parameters, and Complexity
- David J. C. Mackay, Information
Theory, Inference, and Learning Algorithms
- Luciano Floridi, Information:
A Very Short Introduction
- Richard Dawkins, The
- Matt Ridley, The
Origins of Virtue
- John H. Holland, Hidden
- S. Kauffman, The
Origins of Order
- Benoit B. Mandelbrot, The
Fractal Geometry of Nature
- George Kingsley Zipf, Human
Behavior and the Principle of Least Effort: An Introduction to
- Mark Newman, Networks:
- David Easley and Jon Kleinberg, Networks,
Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected
- Thomas C. Schelling, Micromotives
- Robert Axelrod, The
Evolution of Cooperation
- Olaf Sporns, Networks
of the Brain
- Rosario N. Mantegna and H. Eugene Stanley, Introduction
to Econophysics: Correlations and Complexity in Finance
- Claudio Castellano, Santo Fortunato, and Vittorio Loreto, Statistical
physics of social dynamics, RMP 81, 591 (2009).