How does a network of interacting genes produce viable cells? Why does flowing sand sometimes get jammed in a static state? How do networks of neurons in the brain process information? How can coupling many simple sensors produce a network that outperforms traditional approaches? What types of spatial and temporal patterns can arise in collections of many interacting elements?
Questions like these require the discovery and characterization of the collective behavior of complex systems, to uncover the principles that connect the physics and logic of interactions between individual parts to the properties of the full system.
At Duke, research in nonlinear and complex systems is often interdisciplinary. Our faculty study nonlinear dynamics, chaos, pattern formation and complex nonlinear systems with many degrees of freedom.
The Center for Nonlinear and Complex Systems (CNCS)
CNCS is an interdisciplinary University-wide organization. Other academic units with ties to the CNCS include the departments of Computer Science, Geology, and Mathematics, the Nicholas School of Environment and the Pratt School of Engineering. The CNCS sponsors a regular seminar series and a certificate program of study for graduate and advanced undergraduate students.