Scaling in Complex Systems

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Mathematics


The research will address the question concerning what properties of an interacting many components system are responsible for the often observed very robust scaling. The robustness is e.g. indicated by the fact that the scaling remains valid despite the change in functionality as one crosses from one level in the hierarchy to the next, say from organelles to organs to organism etc. Other obvious open questions that will be addressed include: 1) Why systems as different as biological organisms and human cities both exhibit scaling laws?2) Why these scaling laws often exhibit opposite trends. E.g. a cell in a large organism consumes less energy than a cell in a small organism, whereas a person in a big city consumes more energy and is more creative than a person in a small town? The Oxford group is mainly concerned with socio-physics modelling of social systems, whereas the Imperial group uses statistical mechanics to developed models of evolutionary ecology. In collaboration with Prof West we aim to develop our understanding of how widespread scaling laws are in heterogeneous complex systems and what principles are behind them. Professor West will be hosted by the complexity groups at Imperial College London and Oxford University. Prof West will visit the UK for a total of two and a half months each year during the first two-years of the proposal. During Prof West's visit to UK he will participate in open meetings and give seminars to ensure that the entire UK complexity community will have the possibility to benefit from Prof West's expertise.


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Description Continued interaction with Professor Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico 
Organisation Santa Fe Institute
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution General discussions on the theory of complex systems and in particular the role of scaling
Collaborator Contribution General discussions on the theory of complex systems and in particular the role of scaling.
Impact Multidisciplinary. Number of reciprocal visits and research talks
Start Year 2007