Category Archives: CASCI

CNETS professors create complex systems on the dance floor

E-Trash/Rocha and DJ Angst/Bollen performing at the Riot Bootique
“On the last Friday of each month, instead of heading home to their families after the weekly School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering faculty meeting, professors Luis Rocha and Johan Bollen head to the Root Cellar Lounge and become DJ E-Trash and DJ Angst. […] Both Bollen and Rocha are considered experts in the field of complex networks and systems, and they agree that when they DJ, they are part of just the kind of complex systems they study”. See full article at IU News.

CNETS PhD Program central in new $3 million NSF Training Grant

Luis RochaThe National Science Foundation has awarded nearly $3 million to train future research leaders in Complex Networks and Systems, via the PhD Program established by CNETS faculty. The highly selective grant from the NSF’s Research Traineeship Award will create a dual Ph.D. program at Indiana University to train graduate students to be proficient in both a specific discipline, such as psychology or political science, as well as network, complexity and data science. The new Ph.D. program will also leverage the strengths of the Indiana Network Science Institute, or IUNI, to involve students in interdisciplinary research.”The biggest challenges currently faced by society require large teams of people who are ‘fluent’ in more than one scientific discipline,” said Luis Rocha, CNETS professor in the IU School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering who will lead the new program. “But the current education model in academia is still largely focused on training researchers who know how to set up independent labs with agendas driven by a single person. If we want to take on the really big problems, we’ve got to create more scientists with deep expertise in multiple areas.” Full Press Release Available.

New Ph.D. Graduate

Congratulations to Alexander Gates for successfully defending his dissertation entitled “The anatomical and effective structure of complex systems” on April 3rd 2017, co-supervised by Randy beer and Luis Rocha. Alex completed a dual-PhD degree in the Complex Systems track of the Informatics PhD Program as well as the Cognitive Science program at Indiana University. Alex has accepted a postdoctoral position at Northeastern University at the Center for Complex Network Research.

Art-Science Installation Musical Morphogenesis

Musical Morphogenesis’ is an interactive installation that translates to sound, movement and lights the dynamics behind the development of petals in a flower. It is a collaborative piece developed by designers, architects, musicians and scientists in Luis Rocha‘s CASCI group. The control of this robotic “macroscope” is an implementation of the gene regulatory network of the Thaliana Arabidopsis flower. The installation provides a sensorial exploration of the dynamics between genes and proteins that leads to organ formation in plants, namely sepals, stamen, and petals. The genetic network provides an interactive “genetic soundtrack” that allows visitors to control the development of the plant towards its wild-type or mutant states. The installation has been on display at various museums such as the Science Museum in Lisbon, Gulbenkian Foundation, and the Belém ArtFest. This week it will be displayed at Dia D Ligações – Gulbenkian Foundation.

CASCI alumnus makes Fast Company’s most creative list

Ahmed Abdeen Hamed

Congratulations to CASCI alumnus Dr. Ahmed Abdeen Hamed who was recognized by FastCompany magazine, among the most creative people in the world, in 2016, for his research publication entitled: Twitter K-H networks in action: Advancing biomedical literature for drug search.Dr. Hamed completed his Computer Science MS degree at Indiana University in May 2005 and joined our Complex Networks & Systems track of the PhD in Informatics in the Fall of 2008. For personal reasons, he finished his PhD at the University of Vermont, but started his research in biomedical text mining with the CASCI group.

Control of Complex Networks

Control of the eukaryotic cell cycle of budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (from Nature.com, click for details)

Network science has allowed us to understand the organization of complex systems across disciplines. However, there is a need to understand how to control them; for example, to identify strategies to revert a diseased cell to a healthy state in cancer treatment. Recent work in the field—based on linear control theory—suggests that the controllability of complex systems can be predicted solely from the graph of interactions between variables, without considering their dynamics. Such graph-based approaches have been used, for instance, to suggest that biological systems are harder to control and have appreciably different control profiles than social or technological systems. The methodology has also been increasingly used in many applications from financial to biochemical networks.

In work published today in Nature Scientific Reports, CNetS graduate student Alexander Gates and Professor Luis Rocha demonstrate that such graph-based methods fail to characterize controllability when dynamics are introduced. The study computed the control profiles of large ensembles of multivariate systems as well as existing Systems Biology models of biochemical regulation in various organisms.

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Artemy Kolchinsky, recent Postdoc at the Santa Fe Institute

Artemy Kolchinsky
Artemy Kolchinsky

Recent CASCI Complex Systems & Networks Phd program graduate Artemy Kolchinsky, is now a postdoc at the Santa Fe Institute. While at SFI, Kolchinsky is working with “David Wolpert on several projects related to optimal use of information and prediction. One is the problem of modeling and analyzing complicated dynamical systems that require large amounts of time and computational power to simulate. […] Another project investigates connections
between information processing and statistical physics. […] The two are [also] beginning to work on understanding why different social groups develop different organizations, whether the group is a prehistoric tribe or a business firm.” More details on the SFI update newsletter.

Rocha Receives Fulbright Scholarship

Luis Rocha
Luis M. Rocha

Congratulations to Luis Rocha, who has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship devoted to developing Complex Systems methodologies for the Life Sciences. The 12-month sabbatical is to be pursued under the Fulbright program for educational exchanges between the United States and Portugal. It will focus on studying collective behavior and control in biochemical and social networks. The broader goal is to advance our ability to predict and control the dynamics of complex networks in three domain areas: biochemical, neurodyamic, and social systems. The scholarship will also be used to facilitate the design of a new doctoral program on complex networks and systems for the life sciences.

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