Living organisms are characterized by a degree of hierarchical complexity that appears to be inaccessible to even the most complex inanimate objects. Routes and patterns of the evolution of complexity are poorly understood. We propose a general conceptual framework for emergence of complexity through competing interactions and frustrated states similar to those that yield patterns in striped glasses and cause self-organized criticality. We show that biological evolution is replete with competing interactions and frustration that, in particular, drive major transitions in evolution. The key distinction between biological and nonbiological systems seems to be the existence of long-term digital memory and phenotype-to-genotype feedback in living matter.
Yuri I. Wolf, Mikhail I. Katsnelson, and Eugene V. Koonin
The flagship conference of the Complex Systems Society will go to Latin America for the first time in 2017. The Mexican complex systems community is enthusiast to welcome colleagues to one of our richest destinations: Cancun.
The conference will include presentations by Mario Molina (Environment, Nobel Prize in Chemistry), Ranulfo Romo (neuroscience), Antonio Lazcano (origins of life), Marta González (human mobility), Dirk Brockmann (epidemiology), Stefano Battiston (economics) John Quackenbush (computational biology), and many more.
Abstract deadline March 10
Notifications of Acceptance April 21
Conference September 17-22
By Chengyi Tu, Joel Carr & Samir Suweis
The easy access to large data sets has allowed for leveraging methodology in network physics and complexity science to disentangle patterns and processes directly from the data, leading to key insights in the behavior of systems. Here we use country specific food production data to study binary and weighted topological properties of the bipartite country-food production matrix. This country-food production matrix can be: 1) transformed into overlap matrices which embed information regarding shared production of products among countries, and or shared countries for individual products, 2) identify subsets of countries which produce similar commodities or subsets of commodities shared by a given country allowing for visualization of correlations in large networks, and 3) used to rank country fitness (the ability to produce a diverse array of products weighted on the type of food commodities) and food specialization (quantified on the number of countries producing a specific food product weighted on their fitness). Our results show that, on average, countries with high fitness produce both low and high specializion food commodities, whereas nations with low fitness tend to produce a small basket of diverse food products, typically comprised of low specializion food commodities.
Systems Biology is a young and rapidly evolving research field, which combines experimental techniques and mathematical modeling in order to achieve a mechanistic understanding of processes underlying the regulation and evolution of living systems. Systems Biology is often associated with an Engineering approach: The purpose is to formulate a data-rich, detailed simulation model that allows to perform numerical (‘in silico’) experiments and then draw conclusions about the biological system. While methods from Engineering may be an appropriate approach to extending the scope of biological investigations to experimentally inaccessible realms and to supporting data-rich experimental work, it may not be the best strategy in a search for design principles of biological systems and the fundamental laws underlying Biology. Physics has a long tradition of characterizing and understanding emergent collective behaviors in systems of interacting units and searching for universal laws. Therefore, it is natural that many concepts used in Systems Biology have their roots in Physics. With an emphasis on Theoretical Physics, we will here review the ‘Physics core’ of Systems Biology, show how some success stories in Systems Biology can be traced back to concepts developed in Physics, and discuss how Systems Biology can further benefit from its Theoretical Physics foundation.