WHAT ARE COMPLEX ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS?
Apparently complex adaptive behaviors that emerge as a consequence of nonlinear spatio-temporal interactions among a large number of components or subsystems are ubiquitous in nature. Systems that exhibit such behavior have come to be known as complex adaptive systems (CAS). Examples of CAS that exist in nature include immune systems, multicellular organisms, nervous systems, ecologies, societies, etc. Examples of synthetic (man-made) CAS include parallel and distributed computing systems, large-scale communication networks, artificial neural networks, evolutionary algorithms, large software systems, economies, etc. Researchers from a number of disparate areas have begun to study the behavior, control and coordination, communication, adaption, learning, and evolution structures and processes in CAS. Of particular interest are algorithmic, information processing, and complexity-theoretic characterizations of CAS that are being developed by researchers in Computer Science, Information Theory, Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Psychology, Sociology, Control theory, Complexity Theory, Economics, Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and Engineering (among others). The resulting tools for analysis of CAS are beginning to find applications in many areas of science and occasionally, even the humanities. Tools for systematic synthesis of CAS for specific applications are beginning to be used effectively to solve practical problems in computer science and engineering. A number of faculty are actively engaged in CAS research and education at Iowa State University.
In response to a growing demand for education and training in CAS among graduate students with diverse disciplinary backgrounds and research interests, a steering committee consisting of Vasant Honavar (Computer Science), Leigh Tesfatsion (Economics), Daniel Ashlock (Mathematics), Gerald Sheble (Electrical Engineering), Veronica Dark (Psychology), Bill Robinson (Philosophy), Srdija Jeftinija (Biomedical Sciences), with the help of John Mayfield (Associate Dean, Graduate College), put together a proposal for an interdepartmental graduate minor in Complex Adaptive Systems. Faculty of the Interdepartmental Graduate CAS Minor
Interdepartmental CAS Minor Requirements (TBA)