Complexity Theory2019-06-02T16:26:01+00:00
157 students

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.


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  • Normank147


    Great introduction to complexity theory

    I completed this course in 5 days spending a few hours each day reading, watching the videos, writing notes and researching using outside sources on topics that I didn't understand quite as well (only a few) or that especially interested me (like cellular automaton). The course was well put together and easily understandable even with little prior knowledge on the topics. I also enjoyed the long list of external links at the end of the course to go even more in depth. The only thing missing for me were simple exercises after each lesson. So I made some for myself. For example after learning network theory I created network graph models for my friends circle based on the length of time I know them and who introduced me to who. I also created an exercise to analyse my life through positive and negative feedback loops. However I would have preferred to also have premade exercises made by experts who put together this course to deepen my understanding. The only technical problem with the course was with "digging deeper" lessons that kept loading up the slides for ages. However, I found a solution to that: double clicking on the loading slide made them load considerably faster. 5/5. I'll definitely move on to other systems academy courses now and continue learning. Complexity theory is amazing and can't wait to dive deeper!
  • Barnsleyfern


    Well-Made Introduction to Complexity Theory

    A lot of the topics given are very new to me, and this course explains it very well! Very nice course. Thanks for making this! :)

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