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UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT Building (Building 11)

83-117 Broadway, Ultimo

Room CB11.04.101 (Level 4, room 101)

Sydney, NSW 2007

Australia

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Complexity Matters aims to bring together scholars and practitioners to explore concepts derived from complexity theory and their practical applications in both research and professional and social practice in diverse settings.


Why is the understanding of Complex Systems important in the Anthropocene?

Internationally, complexity theory has established itself over the last two decades as a discipline of central importance, engaging in groundbreaking ways with problems of paramount importance in the human and natural sciences. Complexity theory is recognised worldwide as a theoretical framework with crucial implications for the way we understand the world and how we act in it, specifically in the light of the failure of traditional scientific theories that aim to explain complex phenomena with methods that deny their complexity.

Research done in the field of complexity theory concerns itself with phenomena such as, for example, ecosystems, social and economic systems, the cellular organization that constitute a living organism, the way in which neurons interact in the brain, how meaning arises in language, business management, political tolerance and health systems. From these examples it becomes clear that complexity research challenges scientists to
embark on inter-disciplinary journeys in their search for the truth. As another example, Millennium Development Goals such as ensuring environmental sustainability, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, and combating HIV/Aids and other diseases can only be approached if the deeply complex nature of these problems is understood.


Complexity is a slippery notion; the term is used in a myriad of contexts. In the natural sciences it is closely associated with what are now called the complexity sciences that model systems with the tools of chaos theory, fractals, cellular automata, artificial life, etc. However, this can be classified under the umbrella of restricted complexity, a term coined by complexity philosopher Edgar Morin. The complex problems that we as world society are confronted with are part of what Morin would call general complexity, a vastly more difficult concept involving self-reflection, emergence, multiple non-linear feedback, circular causality, impredicativity, even contradictions. General complexity can therefore not be captured in a formal language – as a matter of fact, we do not really have a language which can deal with general complexity. As the theoretical biologist Robert Rosen said, we can only approximate an understanding of such complexity by employing a plurality of descriptions or models. (The Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study)


Building 11 is on the corner of Jones Street and Broadway to the west of the UTS Tower block.

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Location

UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT Building (Building 11)

83-117 Broadway, Ultimo

Room CB11.04.101 (Level 4, room 101)

Sydney, NSW 2007

Australia

View Map

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