Conference Tracks

Main Conference Track

Janet Wiles (University of Queensland) and Bob Dewar (Australian National University)

Papers related to any area of complex systems were welcome. If they were not included in any one of the specialised tracks listed below, they were allocated to the Main Conference Track, which encompassed the breadth of the field.

Authors may have requested poster presentation (instead of oral) as part of the Main Conference Track.

Specialised Conference Tracks

Anomalous Diffusion - Bruce Henry (University of New South Wales) and Bambi Hu (Hong Kong Baptist University and University of Houston)
Anomalous diffusion is a feature of many Complex Systems. Many biological systems exhibit anomalous diffusion at mesoscopic scales due to molecular crowding, trapping and binding. There is also evidence for anomalous diffusion in financial time series data characterized by heavy tailed distributions. The violation of Fourier's Law of Heat conduction is a well known example in nonlinear chains. The purpose of this track was to bring together researchers who have measured or modelled anomalous diffusion in different settings and to share different approaches and insights.

Business and Economics - Bob Marks (AGSM) and Ian Wilkinson (University of New South Wales)

The Business and Economics track brought together a number of researchers and types of contributions in which complexity, complex adaptive systems, self organisation and agent-based simulation or other types of models are used to explore, analyse, and design interactions, networks, and other market and social phenomena.

Complex Systems Challenges in Health Care - Michael Ward (University of Queensland) and Marcus Gallagher (University of Queensland)

This track was included to focus attention upon the growing recognition that many of the problems in healthcare relate to the interactive complexity of the service delivery systems. The nature of healthcare as a complex adaptive systems raises a new set of challenges for both clinicians and managers. These include both the need to understand the non-linear nature of their workplace and to develop new analytical and management techniques. The intention of the track was to link healthcare staff who are starting to recognise the nature of the systems in which they are embedded with researchers who may have relevant knowledge and techniques to help them work more effectively.

Complex Systems Engineering - Peter Lindsay (University of Queensland) and Shaun Wilson (Aerospace Concepts)

The Complex Systems Engineering track brought together researchers and practitioners who are interested in design, development, operation and maintenance of complex socio-technical systems. For the purposes of this conference, systems were considered complex (as opposed to complicated) if they involve multiple interacting components and system properties are emergent: that is, they cannot readily be deduced simply from properties of the components and how they are interconnected.

Complex Systems in the Earth Sciences - Dion Weatherley (University of Queensland)
Natural examples of complex systems abound in the Earth Sciences including the morphology of drainage networks, episodicity in plate tectonics, forest fires, landslides, earthquake occurrence, weather and climate, and the emplacement of minerals in the Earth's crust. Complexity arises predominantly due to nonlinear interactions between numerous physical, chemical and biological phenomena occurring over a broad range of spatial and temporal scales. These multi-scale, multi-physics coupled phenomena typically exhibit emergent system properties, the prediction of which is often of considerable economic, environmental and social importance. Complexity Theory is increasingly playing a role in understanding these complex systems and providing tools for quantitative analysis and prediction. This track brought together researchers who are interested in the complexity of the Earth and showcased recent advances in the use of Complexity Theory and Methods in the Earth Sciences.
Complexity in Energy, Water, and Urban Development - Geoff James (CSIRO) and Tim Baynes (CSIRO)

Energy and water are critical supply infrastructures which are both under stress in many of our large cities. There are solution opportunities if we can manage the dynamic interface between urban systems such as transport networks, housing development and particularly water and energy supply networks. There is also the opportunity to explore complex behaviour in the social, industrial and regulatory agents that interact with landscape, infrastructure and the material and energy metabolism of a city.

Computational Modelling for Biology and Chemistry - Phil Pollett (MASCOS and University of Queensland), James Watson (University of Queensland), Mikael Boden (University of Queensland), Jennifer Hallinan (Newcastle University), and Anil (Neil) Wipat (Newcastle University)
This track was concerned with the developments in analysis and computation, and methodology for predicting the behaviour of complex systems that arise in biology and chemistry. Biology and Chemistry provide paradigm examples of complex systems, with organisms spanning many different levels in space and time. This track brought together researchers interested in modeling all aspects of biological systems. This includes new Monte Carlo algorithms, such as the Cross-Entropy Method, and application of these algorithms to polymer systems such as benzenoid hydrocarbons, populations networks and genetics. There was a focus on applications to interfacial phenomena, protein folding, genetic processes and molecular design.
Format: Two invited talks and several shorter contributed talks.
Defence and Security - Anne-Marie Grisogono (DSTO) and Axel Bender (DSTO)
Complexity and adaptive behaviour abound in defence systems and operations. Challenges include how to conduct effective multi-agency operations, with multiple and possibly conflicted objectives, in complex physical, human and information environments; how to network, integrate and employ very large and massively expensive systems-of-systems; and how to interpret and influence the behaviour of complex human organisations and networks.
Social Networks and Epidemiology - David Newth (CSIRO), Garry Robins (Melbourne University), and Pip Pattison (Melbourne University)

Despite all medical advances, infectious diseases still pose a significant threat to the health and economics of our society. Many of these diseases are transmitted by human-to-human contact. Blood borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are transmitted via needle sharing and sexual contact, while other diseases such as influenza may spread as a result of shared close proximity. Often the underlying contact networks are highly inhomogeneous, and are frequently studied as complex systems that exhibit tipping points or phase transitions in: the structure of the contact network; the prevalence of the disease; and the rate of spread. Over the past 10 years, there has been significant progress made in our capacity to model complex networks, methods for estimating model parameters, and plan network interventions. In 2004, Martina Morris coined the term "network epidemiology" for the epidemiology of relationally-transmitted diseases and stressed the distinctiveness of the methodological and modelling techniques that are required to advance our understanding of the epidemiology of these diseases.

Social Science and Management - Stephen Fraser (CSIRO)
Social and human organizations are complex systems that exist in a near constant state of disequilibrium, which are influenced by various non-linear relationships and supplemented by complicated positive and negative feedback mechanisms. Is there potential for gaining an improved understanding of individual, community or organizational expectations or behaviours; and how may these best be influenced or modified? Papers were invited that investigate or describe the role of complex systems in social interactions in the community, in organizations, and in the workplace.

Turbulence - Bob Dewar (Australian National University), John Finnigan (CSIRO) and Rowena Ball (Australian National University)

In recent years there has been considerable synergy between research on fusion-relevant, magnetically confined toroidal plasmas and on the quasi-two-dimensional flows occurring in planetary atmospheres and oceans. Analogue laboratory fluid experiments have also been useful in clarifying physical mechanisms In particular, turbulent transport in both systems is profoundly modified by self-organised zonal flow patterns.

The geometric justification for two-dimensional modelling is however very different in the two cases, in geophysics being due to the short scale lengths in the vertical direction, and in the plasma case being due to the rapidity of communication along magnetic field lines, even though the distances along the field lines are long compared with transverse dimensions.

This track sought to foster communication between theoretical and experimental researchers in the two fields, and explored similarities and differences.