Course Description: The study of ``Complex systems'' is concerned with understanding the global behavior arising from local interactions among a large number of simple, independent components. Very often, this global behavior, called ``emergent dynamics'', is complex, not prespecified by design, and difficult or impossible to predict solely from knowledge of the system's constituent parts. Complex systems arise in a wide range of contexts including social, biological and physical sciences and have been used to study biological evolution, the brain, the mammalian immune systems, insect colonies, financial markets, social networks and technological networks such as the electrical power grid, the Internet and the Web.

In this course, we will survey relevant literature on complex systems arising in natural and social systems and explore the possibility of applying similar ideas to technological systems. We will also delve into the related topic of ``Complex networks'' by studying the structural and dynamic properties of graphs representing collections of nodes that are linked to each other.

Lectures: To be defined

Office: Mura Anteo Zamboni 7, Room 104

Office Hours: To be defined

Evaluation: In the second half of the course, each student will present a research paper selected from a reading list. Final grade for the course will be based on: presence during lectures and participation in discussions, the research paper presentation and a programming project to be implemented using the PeerSim simulator.


  1. Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning about a Highly Connected World, D. Easley, J. Kleinberg. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  2. Graph Theory and Complex Networks: An Introduction, M. van Steen. 2010.
  3. Complex Adaptive Systems: An Introduction to Computational Models of Social Life, J. H. Miller, S. E. Page. Princeton University Press, 2007.
  4. The Computational Beauty of Nature, G. W. Flake. MIT Press, Cambridge MA. 2000.

The following books are interesting in that they include ideas originating from complex systems that have found their way into more popular topics such as economics, medicine, sociology and psychology.

  1. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything S. Levitt, S. Dubner. Harper Collins USA, 2009.
  2. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference M. Gladwell. Hachette Book Group USA, 2006.
  3. Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi. Plume, 2003.
Slides of Lectures:
Final Exam: To be defined

You must sign up for the "final exam" through the site AlmaEsami.