Societal themes

In our complexity research, we focus on four societal challenges.

Climate change

Complex systems play an important role in the effects of small changes in the environment, that can have great impact on the global climate. In Utrecht we study for instance how critical transitions in ocean currents can lead to extreme local changes in temperature. Modeling complexity for climate change give insight in the early warning signs of our earth.    

Infectious diseases dynamics

We can be certain that epidemic outbreaks will still be a problem in the future. The way an epidemic emerges and evolves is highly dynamical and involves many different aspects of complexity science. In Utrecht we study for instance the interaction between wildlife ecology and human disease epidemiology. Combined with the use of mathematical tools we want to be able to predict and control the outbreak of diseases.

Big data modeling

There is an increasing amount of data available. At the same time it is getting more and more complex to get the most out of this to for instance optimize logistics. To recover the information that is hidden requires an understanding of the complex interaction between the different types of data sets. In Utrecht we work for instance on data mining, the computational process of discovering patterns in large data sets.

Social network interaction

Understanding social networks provides valuable insights in collective human behaviour and decision making. The influence of interaction between individuals is very hard to predict; many social variables play an important role in this complex system. In Utrecht we study for instance the impact of social networks on cooperation. This way, complexity research helps to predict which network facilitates optimal cooperation.