Modelling Complex Systems 2011

This is the webpage for Modelling Complex Systems (period 4, 2011). The course is aimed at masters students in physics, mathematics and computational sciences.

The first lecture is Tuesday 22nd of March Ångström room 80109. The course will consist of four lectures and nine computer labs. A full timetable can be found here.


The course is taught by David Sumpter and Qi Ma.

Course text

There is no required course text. You may find the following text useful.

Introduction to Computer Simulation Methods, Gould, Tobochnik and Christian (2006), Addison-Wesley, 3rd edition.

I will provide useful links and references during the course along with full course notes.

Exercises and Examination

Examination will be based on the two hand-in sheets. The first will be made available at the start of the course, the second will be made available on May 2nd.

Hand-ins can be submitted either written or (preferably) electronically to

Written hand-ins can be put in the internal post to me (David Sumpter, Mathematics Department) or brought to me at the mathematics department in Ångström (Å5401). Please send me an email saying that you have put them in the internal post if you have done this.

Hand-in 1 is now available: [hand in 1]. Deadline is Monday 9th of May

Hand-in 2 is now available: [hand in 2] [CA90] Deadline is Thursday 9th of June

Course outline

The following is a list of the contents of each of the lectures. Lecture notes will appear online one day before lecture. Note that I will not provide print outs of the lecture notes, so please print these yourself if you want to.

Lecture 1, What are complex systems?; Why do we need mathematical models?; State-based models; Mean-field methods; Approximations; Measures. (Tuesday, March 22nd) [lecture 1][notes from board][runepidemic][simpleepidemic]
Lecture 2, Stochastic population dynamics models; Chaos; Lyapunov Exponent; Entropy; Spatial Models. (Tuesday, March 28th) [lecture 2][notes from board][iterateMap]
Lecture 3, Cellular automata; Box counting dimension; Forest fires; Power Laws. (Monday, May 2nd)[lecture 3][notes from board][Cellular Automata in Netlogo][Article on Power Laws]
Lecture 4, Self-propelled particle models (Friday, May 13th) [lecture 4][notes from board][Article on SPPs][Aggregate1D][Align1D][Align2D.m]