Past Events



Complexity & Governance W​orkshop

Held over 1.5 days, the Workshop on Complexity & Governance aims to create a research agenda for NTU on complexity and governance. The Workshop is intended to gather insights from experts and international thinkers on the ways complexity science can serve governance.

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Towards Large Multiscale Simulations of Complex Socio-Economic Systems with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents

18–19 November 2013


Solutions for a Sustainable and Desirable Future

28 October 2013
Lecture Room 5, Level 3, Nanyang Executive Centre, NTU

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NITHM International Symposium on Health Systems Complexity

This symposium presents a revolutionary approach to reforming basic practice and large-scale care delivery, based on the concept of health care as a complex, self-organised, and self-interactive system.

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An Interdisciplinary & Intersectoral Approach Applied to Asia’s Future

An economist looks at the future of Asia in the prism of interdisciplinary & intersectoral approach. Economic theory does not any longer provide relevant answers. The models build obviously on behavioural patterns, but equally obvious they build on observations in the past. This works fine if fundamentals such as technology and culture are basically unchanged, but lead to wrong policy recommendations and predictions when they are not.​

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Conference: A Crude Look at the Whole

The conference A Crude Look at the Whole is about complexity. Complexity embodies some of the hardest, most fundamental and most challenging open problems in academia. In that sense it is truly “big science”.

It also lies at the root of the most burning issues that confront us every day, such as climate, hunger, sustainability, energy, urbanization, water, health, security, innovation, and the impact of technology. In that sense complexity is what we have created, what we are, and what we do.

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FuturICT – Global Participatory Computing for Our Complex World

The ultimate goal of the FuturICT flagship project is to understand and manage complex, global, socially interactive systems, with a focus on sustainability and resilience. Revealing the hidden laws and processes underlying societies probably constitutes the most pressing scientific grand challenge of our century and is equally important for the development of novel robust, trustworthy and adaptive information and communication technologies (ICT), based on socially inspired approaches.

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​NTU-CHC Human Cognition Workshop

As we advance the sciences and engineering, we understand more and more of the world around us. However, a final frontier stands before us: we ourselves. Social and economic complexity stems from our cognitive capacities and interactions, and therefore we cannot build a better world for human beings until we understand more of this aspect of our being. In the Nanyang Technological University, many cores of research excellence in neuroscience and cognitive science exist. 

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Memo to A New Generation of Leaders: Embrace Complexity, Harness Human Nature

Complexity and networks are present all around us. It is present in ecology, human systems, the weather, the stock market and even in traffic jams. Most experts agree that the term complexity comprises multiple agents interacting with one another; emergence of patterns and behaviours over time; and unintended consequences. Although the environment is increasingly more complex, many of us are limited by the cause-effect relationships we perceive in problems and solutions.

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Advances in Analyzing Complex Systems Models

A model of a complex system is only useful if it improves our understanding of the phenomenon of interest. Having captured the mechanisms that generate complex dynamics in a model, one must be able to analyze the behavior of the model and uncover those complex dynamics. Unfortunately exiting analysis techniques are not up to the task of revealing system complexity, and furthermore the current practices of scientists actually interfere with understanding complex system dynamics.

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Modeling and Data Analysis in Primary Visual Cortex

The primary visual cortex (V1) is relatively well understood in principle but the correspondence of model predictions and multidimensional experimental data are often not tested directly in quantitative manner. In this talk, the speaker will give an overview over some recent studies in which experimental data from V1 were analyzed and attempts were made to relate neural recordings to theoretical models of V1.

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​The Complex Network of Cargo Ship Movements

The global network of merchant ships is arguably the world’s most important transport network. Advances in shipping logistics have transformed the world economy in recent decades. It is estimated that nowadays 90% of world trade is hauled by cargo ships. As a side effect, cargo ships also exchange up to ten billion tons of ballast water, and with it potentially harmful bio-invasive species, around the globe.

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Algos Everywhere – Future Opportunities and Risks


An algorithm is a well-defined problem-solving process. This seeming simplicity belies an ever expanding number and variety of real-world algo applications including computer-based trading in financial markets, logistic optimisation, cryptography, business analytics, preventative medicine, online dating, and large-scale surveillance.


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​Transgressing Borders of Science and Scenes of Life

George de Hevesy was an Hungarian physicist, who received a Nobel Prize in chemistry for 1943, awarded in 1944. He is the father of the indicator method in which isotope labeling of parts of a molecule allow studies of its metabolic processing in synthesis, degradation and association with other components. The introduction of the revolutionary isotope labeling technique has been compared by Peter Medawar to the introduction of the microscope.

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Conference: More is Different

Date: 27 – 29 February 2012 Venue: Nanyang Executive Centre, Nanyang Technological University Address: 60 Nanyang View, Singapore 639673  

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Human Dynamics: From Human Mobility to Predictability

A range of applications, from predicting the spread of human and electronic viruses to city planning and resource management in mobile communications, depend on our ability to understand human activity patterns. I will discuss recent effort to explore human activity patterns, using the mobility of individuals as a proxy.

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Evolutionary Algorithms for Optimization of Complex Systems

Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs) are generic population-based metaheuristic optimization algorithms originated from Genetic Algorithm proposed John Holland. EAs include Genetic Algorithm (GA), Genetic Programming (GP), Evolutionary Programming (EP), Evolution Strategy (ES), and Neuroevolution (NE). EAs have extremely wide applications, including engineering, natural science and social science. This talk will give a brief introduction to EA with focus on some GA operators and ES approaches.

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Seminar – Neurobiology of Social Decision Making

Brooks King-Casas, PhD has expertise in the application of game-experimental paradigms to understand the neural substrates of social behavior in large cohorts of normative and psychiatric individuals. This approach takes advantage of computational descriptions of multi-agent interactions from game theory and experimental economics to examine neurobiological signals underlying complex social behavior, including cooperation and competition.

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Complex Systems Approaches To Global Gene Expression In Natural And Engineered Environments

The notion that living systems, be they cells, organisms or populations, can be thought of as complex systems appears self-evident. I will start by reviewing the concept that genes are the “parts” of such complex living systems, and will review some of the basic concepts behind genes and their functional products (RNA, proteins).

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Complexity Methods Workshop

The workshop on Complexity Methods will be held on 20 – 21 October 2011 at the Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore. Organized by the Complexity Program Office at NTU, the workshop will be held under the umbrella of the Singapore Foresight Week 2011, and in conjunction with the 4th International Risk and Horizon Scanning Symposium (IRAHSS 2011) organised by the National Security Coordination Secretariat (NSCS) and the Foresight Conference organised by the Centre for Strategic Futures.

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All systems will be Gamed - Using Complexity to Model the Exploitation of Policy Systems

W. Brian Arthur is a leading economist and technology thinker. He is well known for his pioneering theoretical work on positive feedbacks or increasing returns in the economy, in the science of complexity, and in technology. He is one of the founders of the Santa Fe Institute, and has served many years on its Science Board and Board of Trustees.Arthur has been Morrison Professor of Economics at Stanford, and Citibank Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.

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Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity In Bali

Along a typical river in Bali, small groups of farmers meet regularly in water temples to manage their irrigation systems. They have done so for a thousand years. Over the centuries, water temple networks have expanded to manage the ecology of rice terraces at the scale of whole watersheds. Although each group focuses on its own problems, a global solution nonetheless emerges that optimizes irrigation flows for everyone.

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Brains: The Ultimate Challenge for Complex Systems

One of the greatest challenge for science is to better understand the brain, most complex system in the known Universe, and find new ways to protect it, develop and maintain it, interact and enhance its capabilities, create brain-inspired cognitive systems and implement such systems in portable devices interacting with people in a natural way. This grand vision links many branches of natural sciences and medicine with engineering and computational sciences, from molecular level to social dynamics and cognitive robotics. Brain-based systems, once available, will rapidly change many aspects of our ways of living.​

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