SCCS – student conference on complex systems

Craig Robson attended the SCCS conference (Student Conference on Complex Systems), organised by PhD students from the University of Southampton’s Institute for Complex Systems Simulation, hosted by Sussex University (not to be confused with the University of Brighton just the other side of Falmer railway station!). With a selection of workshops on the Tuesday afternoon to kick the conference off, it started well and continued in the same fashion. Professor Mark Newman began a series of four key note sessions which would run throughout the conference, talking about some of his work on complex networks (providing a good introduction for those who were less than familiar with the field of network science), while providing thoughtful insight into the on complex networks research.

The second day was opened by a key note presentation from Gilbert on ‘Quality in computational modelling’, providing some useful thoughts on ensuring research results are statistically valid. Following this saw the beginning of the student presentations, with four sessions running in parallel offering a wide and varied selection of topics to the 200+ delegates in attendance for the rest of the day. Sessions ranged from ‘Language and Social Dynamics’, to ‘Swarm Robotics’ through to ‘Network Science Applications’. With 48 presentations in total there was no end of choice and from a range of complex systems related fields, with presenters mostly PhD students. The second day was closed by the third keynote, Henrik Jensen, speaking on ‘emergent collective behaviour’ with reference to neuroscience and ecology.

The final academic day of the conference saw the completion of the academic track of the conference with a further 36 presentations and a key note from Eors Szathmary on ‘growth, selection, evolution and learning’. Sandwiched between these were two panel sessions; the first based around careers, and the second the area of complex science and how this will/is evolving. The panels consisted on invited speakers and guests from a range of backgrounds, including academia and business. These provided a wider view of the applicability of complex systems science to the wider world and the future direction which the field may take.

To round the conference of the obligatory conference dinner followed, held at the Grand Hotel, with a SpaceDog chosen to provide the music for evening, something which certainly made the dinner stand out from other such events.

When in Brighton…

Brighton Pier - seen better days

Brighton Pier – seen better days

And the slightly better one…

Photo of Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier

While in attendance Craig gave an oral presentation.

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