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FUNDAMENTAL ASPECTS OF COMPLEX SYSTEMS

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Complexity research addresses from a unifying point of view a large body of phenomena occurring in systems composed of interacting subunits. It constitutes a highly interdisciplinary, fast-growing branch of science, drawing on cross-fertilization of concepts and tools from nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory, statistical mechanics, probability and information theories, and numerical simulation. It provides a privileged interface between mathematical and physical science on the one side and real-world complex systems on the other as encountered, in particular, in life sciences. Our research is centered on both the fundamental aspects and the applications of complexity research and brings out the intertwining between the deterministic and probabilistic views of complexity. Some issues of current interest are symbolic dynamics, complex systems as information generators and processors, and information processing at the molecular level.

Selected publications

Foundations of complex systems,
G. Nicolis and C. Nicolis (World Scientific, New Jersey, 2007).

Complex systems,
G. Nicolis and C. Nicolis, Scholarpedia, p. 25053 (2007).

Characterization of temporal disorder:

Sporadicity: Between periodic and chaotic dynamical behaviors,
P. Gaspard and X.-J. Wang, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 85, 4591 (1988).

Noise, chaos, and (e,t)-entropy per unit time,
P. Gaspard and X.-J. Wang, Physics Reports 235, 291 (1993).

Information generation and information processing:

Generation of spatially asymmetric, information-rich structures in far-from-equilibrium systems,
G. Nicolis, G. Subba Rao, J. Subba Rao, and C. Nicolis,
in : Structure, Coherence, and Chaos in Dynamical Systems,
P. L. Christiansen and R. D. Parmentier, Editors (Manchester University Press, UK, 1989) p. 287.

Nonequilibrium generation of information in copolymerization processes,
D. Andrieux and P. Gaspard, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105, 9516 (2008).

Commentary: The thermodynamics of writing a random polymer,
C. Jarzynski, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105, 9451 (2008).
Column: The crucible, Philip Ball, Chemistry World 5, Issue 8 (2008).
Info-Physique: Les origines thermodynamiques de la vie,
Henri Dupuis, Revue ATHENA 243, 37 (2008).

Molecular information processing in nonequilibrium copolymerizations,
D. Andrieux and P. Gaspard, J. Chem. Phys. 130, 014901 (2009).