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Simulation of Complex Systems

Professor Giovanni Volpe, Dr Agnese Callegari, Mr Aykut Argun


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This book deals with the most fundamental and essential techniques to simulate complex systems, from the dynamics of molecules to the spreading of diseases, from optimization using ant colonies to the simulation of the Game of Life.

Several natural systems found in physics, biology and engineering can be considered complex systems, because their behaviour is not easily predictable and is the result of complex interactions among their constituents. Examples of complex systems are a cell with its organelles, an organ, the human brain, social networks, transportation and communication systems, the stock market, ecosystems, systems with prey and predators, a swarm of bees.

There are several specialized books focusing on different simulation methods, but there is not one fully devoted to complex systems. The "bottom-up" approach is innovative and allows the reader to conduct numerical experiments to explore the system's behaviour.

Key Features

1.      Composed of self-contained, independent chapters

2.      Illustrates simulation techniques in a broad range of fields from physics and biology to engineering, social science and economics

3.      Provides a hands-on approach with guided exercises

4.      Covers the fundamental numerical techniques in complex systems

5.      Ideal for self-study

6.      Contains supplementary example codes and video tutorials

About Editors

Author Bios

Giovanni Volpe

Giovanni Volpe is a Professor at the Physics Department of the University of Gothenburg University, where he leads the Soft Matter Lab. His research interests include soft matter, active matter, optical trapping and manipulation, statistical mechanics, brain connectivity, and machine learning. He has authored more than 100 articles and reviews on soft matter, statistical physics, optics, physics of complex systems, brain network analysis, and machine learning. He co-authored the book "Optical Tweezers: Principles and Applications" (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He has developed several software packages (Optical Tweezers Software, Braph – Brain Analysis Using Graph Theory, DeepTrack, DeepCalib).


Agnese Callegari

Agnese Callegari is a researcher at the Physics Department of Gothenburg University. Her research interests are optical trapping and manipulation, statistical physics, soft matter, active matter. She has authored 14 publications, and she has extensive experience in numerical simulations. She has been teaching basic physics courses for scientists and engineers.


Aykut Argun

Aykut Argun is a PhD student in Physics at Gothenburg University. His research interests are optical trapping and manipulation, statistical physics, soft matter, active matter, machine learning technique applied to experimental data Analysis. He has authored 8 publications, and he has served several years as a teaching assistant in courses like "Simulation of complex systems", "Optical trapping", "Statistical physics." He has a solid experience in teaching and explaining physics to high school, undergraduate and graduate students.

Table of Contents


1 Molecular Dynamics

2 Ising model

3 Forest Fires

4 The Game of Life

5 Brownian Dynamics

6 Anomalous Diffusion

7 Multiplicative Noise

8 The Vicsek Model

9 Living Crystals

10 Sensory Delay

11 Disease Spreading

12 Network Models

13 Evolutionary Games

14 Ecosystems

15 Ant-colony Optimization

16 The Sugarscape


Hardback ISBN: 9780750338417

Ebook ISBN: 9780750338431

DOI: 10.1088/978-0-7503-3843-1

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing


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