PSY 5930: Complexity for the Life Sciences
15854 M.W.. 9:30 AM - 10:50 AM
Raton, Building BS-12, Room 303
Professor Larry S. Liebovitch
Behavioral Science Building BS-12, Room 323
Most things are made up of many pieces that interact strongly with each
other. Yet much of science has tried to study things by tearing them apart and
studying only their tiny separate, noninteracting pieces. Here we will learn
how the science of "complexity" is able to help us see, analyze, and
understand complex entities in physics, chemistry, biology, and psychology.
Note: This course may serve as an elective for
psychology graduate students if it has been approved by a student's advisor and
committee; but it cannot be substituted for a core course; it may only serve as
- James Gleick Chaos: Making a New Science
Penguin Books, 1988, ISBN 0-14--009250-1.
- John H. Holland. Emergence:
From Chaos to Order. Perseus Books Group, 1998, ISBN 0-7382-0142-1.
Albert-Laszlo Barabasi. Linked. Plume - Penguin Group, 2003, ISBN
- Larry S. Liebovitch. Fractals and Chaos: Simplified
for the Life Sciences Oxford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-19-512024-8.
- THE WHOLE IS REALLY GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS
- Things: Particles, atoms, molecules, cells, organisms, society
- Levels and the rules between them
- Emergence: what was is new again.
- CHAOS: SIMPLE SYSTEMS CAN DO SURPRISING THINGS
- Randomness vs. Chaos
- Phase space, strange attractors, and learning to think globally
- Sensitivity to initial conditions: you know how it works but you can't tell
what it will do
- Bifurcations: smooth changes produce sudden jumps
- Methods to analyze experimental data
- Control of chaos: swifter and finer than linear systems
- Example: ion channels in the cell membrane
- What is an ODE?
- SYSTEMS SPREAD ACROSS SPACE AND TIME
- Sand falling on a sandpile: self-organizing critical systems
- Coupled maps: all working together
- Cellular automata: patterns from boxes and simple rules
- Agent based models: from diseases to economies
- Example: how one part of the brain speaks to another
- What is a PDE?
- ARTIFICIAL NEURAL NETWORKS
- What is the brain: pipes, telephone switches, a computer, a parallel
- Turing's machine
- Thinking all at once, all together, along parallel paths
- Addressable memory vs. associative memory
- Perceptrons, Hopfield, recurrent networks
- Learning: back propagation, from examples to generalizations
- Example: drug discovery
- Random networks
- Scale free networks
- Six degrees of separation
- Small worlds
- Hubs: what makes and breaks them
- Viruses and fads
- Example: the Internet
- Self-similarity: when the parts are like the whole
- There are more dimensions than 1, 2, and 3
- Statistical properties of fractals: not your normal distribution
- Example: How genes regulate other genes
- WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
- Is everything connected to everything else?
- How should we study nature?
- How are complex systems different than simple systems?
- Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes. If you miss a class
you are responsible for ALL the material covered during that class, including
lecture material and rules and regulations about the course (such as penalties
for late assignments, etc.).
- Some of the material covered in the lectures (and included on the exams) is
NOT in the required texts.
- It is the responsibility of the student to withdraw from this class, should
that status be desired - the instructor cannot withdraw students from the
course. The instructor will not give the grade of "I" in lieu of a
grade of "D" or "F". The grade of "I" will be
considered only in exceptional cases (such as serious illness) for students who
are presently performing at a "C" or higher level in the course.
- Midterm Exam and Final Exam. (The material covered will include the
material covered in class and the assigned readings. All students are expected
to take the exams on the days they are scheduled. Makeup exams will be given
only in exceptional circumstances and only if the student contacts the
instructor BEFORE the exam.)
- Required paper.
- Required oral presentation of the paper in class.
- Homework assignments.
- The papers and homework are due on the dates assigned. These will be
accepted up to 1 week late, but they will be penalized. None will be accepted
over 1 week late.)