CS 346U / SySc 346U:
Computer Science, Systems Science, and University Studies
Fall Quarter 2011
Time : Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:0011:50am
Location: Fourth Avenue Building (FAB), Room 4006.
Instructor:
Melanie Mitchell,
FAB 12024, (503) 7252412, email
Office hours: Tu,Th 3:004:00pm, or by appointment.
Course Website: :
http://www.cs.pdx.edu/~mm/ExploringComplexityFall2011/index.html
Course description: This course introduces the main ideas
in Complex Systems, an interdisciplinary field of research that seeks
to explain how large numbers of relatively simple entities organize
themselves, without the benefit of any central controller, acting
collectively to create patterns, use information, and adapt and
learn. The course will introduce undergraduates, in a largely
nonmathematical way, to the the methods and tools of computerbased
modeling (using the Netlogo simulation environment), and to frontline
research on complexity in several different areas of science,
including physics, biology, the social sciences, and computer
science. Topics will include areas of current research in complex
systems science, including dynamics and chaos, information and
computation, life and evolution in nature and in machines, the science
of networks, and network structure and information processing in
living systems. The focus will be on common principles underlying
complexity in natural and technological systems.
Note: This
class cannot be used to fulfill the upper division CS electives
requirement for CS majors.
Prerequisites: None
Textbook: M. Mitchell, Complexity: A Guided Tour Homework: Weekly reading assignments; reading questions; lab assignments
Date 
Class Topic(s) 
Homework and Reading 
Tuesday Sept. 27 
Class introduction 
Week 1 reading: Textbook, Chapters 12 
Thurs. Sept. 29 
Dynamics, Chaos, and Prediction, continued 

Tues. Oct. 4 
Information theory 
Week 2 reading: Textbook, Chapters 34 
Thurs. Oct. 6 


Tues. Oct. 11 
Computation, continued 
Week 3 reading: Textbook Chapters 56 
Thurs. Oct. 13 
Evolution, continued 

Tues. Oct. 18 
Defining and measuring complexity 
Week 4 reading: 
Thurs. Oct. 20 
Guest lecture: Jeff Fletcher, Systems Science Program 

Tues. October 25 
LSystems 
Week 5 reading: Textbook Chapters 89 
Thurs. Oct. 27 
Students present project abstracts 

Tues. Nov. 1 
Cellular automata 
Week 6 reading: Textbook Chapter 10 
Thurs. Nov. 3 
Evolution and computation in networks 

Tues. Nov. 8 
Cellular automata, part 2 
Week 7 reading: Textbook Chapters 1112 
Thurs. Nov. 10 
Information processing in living systems 

Tues. Nov. 15 
Prospects of computer modeling I
Here are the slides:
pptx or
pdf 
Week 8 reading: Textbook Chapter 14 
Thurs. Nov. 17 


Tues. Nov. 22 
Week 9 reading: Textbook Chapters 1516 

Thurs. Nov. 24 
No class (Thanksgiving). 

Tues. Nov. 29 
Networks and scaling, continued.

Week 10 reading: Textbook, Chapter 1719 Week 10 homework , due Tuesday Dec. 6. Final paper due Friday Dec. 9. 
Thurs. Dec. 1 
Wrapup; Future of the sciences of complexity 

Tues. Dec. 6 
No class (finals week). 

Thurs. Dec. 8 
No class (finals week). 
