Complex Systems Summer School 2015-Panel Questions

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Complex Systems Summer School 2015

Please post questions you might have for our panel on June 19th. Panel includes Simon DeDeo, Mirta Galesic, Laurent Hébert-Dufresne, Christa Brelsford, and others to be announced shortly.

  1. Are there any universal principles that govern the generation of power-law distributions?
  2. Is complex systems science a discipline, toolset, mindset, or something else? How do you define complex systems science?
  3. 200 years from now, would what we now consider under the rubric of complexity sciences be still considered legit complexity topics? If not, then is complexity in the eye of the beholder--and this front keeps shifting as we explore the frontiers?
  4. What evidence do we have that understanding complex systems is a task the human mind is capable of? What if we reached the point where it's fundamentally beyond our comprehension?
  5. Interdisciplinary knowledge is valuable, but perhaps you need to be specialized to be useful to interdisciplinary work. Do you have thoughts on balancing these?
  6. Is the idea of a "generative social science" approach embedded in the use of complexity tools and framework for social phenomena? How can we make this idea useful, in particular when dealing with economics, which usually aims to generate predictions?
  7. "I believe there is a fourth law of thermodynamics, or some cousin of it, concerning self-constructing nonequilibrium systems, such as biospheres, in the cosmos, but cannot prove it" - Stuart Kauffman, former external professor at SFI. Where do you stand on this statement?
  8. Can complexity radically change the way we think about and manage socio-environmental systems?
  9. Shall qualitative data be always quantified? We have learned at CSSS that there is basically no real randomness, and that systems are sort of in need of noise anyway. So, if we not always have to quantify qualitative data, what other ways of approaching qualitative data there can be and for what problems in particular?
  10. Can you imagine a research project in Complexity Science, which would be based on qualitative data that was not quantified, but still approached systemically and stepwise?
  11. To an extent, complex systems science seems to be the search of complex systems "universals". In the lectures by Alfred Hübler, he talked about physical intelligence: the idea that physical complex systems "seek out" the optimal dissipation of energy sources (and self-organize by consuming). This leads to all sorts of thoughts about Life being there because it dissipates energy quicker than random systems do (and hence reintroducing a kind of teleology in nature, see for instance: Schneider and Kay (1994). Are there, or is there evidence for, such "universal" principles of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, or should these kind of ideas be taken with a grain of salt?
  12. Given the role of failures in large scale complex social & technological systems, what role does forensics play in complexity sciences? Are there common patterns of failure that cross interdisciplinary boundaries? Is there a spot for "Complex System Forensics" on the table?
  13. These past two weeks have been a wonderful treat--a buffet of courses and interactions. But in a sense they are just appetizers. Much of the heavy lifting has to happen auto-didactically once we return. Hands-on, online books like Allen Downeys "Think Complexity": are a definite plus. Wish there was something similar and hands-on and auto-didactically set for the foundational works such as Mark's Networks, or Cris's Comp-Complexity. Is there some thought as to how to keep the momentum going, to build upon & continue this amazing experience--both auto-didactically as well as interactively?
  14. It is strange that there is not much voicing of controversies within the Complexity Sciences? Is everybody in agreement about the foundationals? If not, could you please highlight the clashes, both historical as well as on-going?
  15. In the Hindu mythology, there is Jagganath from whom comes the word juggernaut--meaning an unstoppable force. Both Sander Bais as well as Brian Arthur mentioned such an unstoppable force--one operating in the realm of science, the other in the realm of technology--and the human agents who are propelling this classic CAS forward have yet to figure out where it is heading and what our natural place within it is. Any thoughts on reconciling these two (science vs. tech-driven) frameworks and hints on finding our feet within this uber complex system that we are part and parcel of?
  16. What's the limit of ABMs?