This multi-disciplinary course focuses on the application of modeling and simulation principles to complex systems. A complex system is a large-scale nonlinear system consisting of interconnected or interwoven parts (such as a biological organism, an ecological system, the economy, fluids or strongly-coupled solids). The subject is interdisciplinary with foundations in mathematics, nonlinear science, numerical simulations and statistical physics. The course begins with an overview of complex systems, followed by modeling techniques based on nonlinear differential equations, networks, and stochastic models. Simulations are conducted via numerical calculus, analog circuits, Monte Carlo methods, and cellular automata. In the course we will model, program, and analyze a wide variety of complex systems, including dynamical and chaotic systems, cellular automata, and iterated functions. By defining and iterating an individual course project throughout the term, students will gain hands-on experience and understanding of complex systems that arise from combinations of elementary rules. Students will be able to define, solve, and plot systems of linear and non-linear systems of differential equations and model various complex systems important in applications of population biology, epidemiology, circuit theory, fluid mechanics, and statistical physics.
Knowledge of elementary probability and statistics and previous exposure to differential equations. Students applying this course to the MS in Bioinformatics should also have completed at least one Bioinformatics course prior to enrollment.
This course may be counted toward a three-course concentration in Bioinformatics.