Next generation of scientists for modelling and analysing complex systems

December 21, 2018, CORDIS
Credit: Chaikom, Shutterstock

Quantitative models based on nonlinear dynamics and complex systems are frequently used in various areas ranging from climate research to neuroscience to power networks. Such systems, including biological organisms, consist of interacting units with oscillatory elements. For example, several measurable quantities in living systems such as blood flow, respiration and brain activity are oscillatory and their frequencies and amplitudes vary in time, often in an almost deterministic and nearly periodic manner. It's crucial to understand these time-variable oscillations in order to develop applications in fields like physiology and medicine.

Enter COSMOS, the EU-funded project that aims to analyse complex oscillatory systems that are "abundant in nature, physical and engineering devices, and ," as explained on CORDIS. It particularly focuses on systems that are composed of multiple interrelated subunits operating on different time scales. "The novel interdisciplinary approach of COSMOS is to combine theoretical techniques with data-analysis procedures, to allow the development and validation of original analysis methods for ."

According to the project website, a "user-friendly software package will be ultimately developed to make the methods accessible to a broad set of potential users, including those with minimal theoretical competences." The same website summarises the research concept and notes that COSMOS consists of 15 distinct projects all working on related themes around the analysis of complex signals.

Interdisciplinary approach

As part of its programme goals, "COSMOS will train 15 ESRs [early-stage researchers] at the interface between Physics, Applied Mathematics, and Life Sciences, integrating theoretical and data-driven methods to make the researchers competitive for a wide range of industrial and academic positions."

Scientific training will include nonlinear dynamics, numerical methods and statistical mechanics. If required, the basics of neuroscience, physiology and biology will be included. More complex topics will also be covered, including information-theoretic methods, synchronisation, network analysis, advanced nonlinear-dynamics indicators, inference methods and non-equilibrium thermodynamics.

All 15 researchers who have taken part in the ongoing COSMOS (Complex Oscillatory Systems: Modeling and Analysis) project have worked on their Ph.D. theses under the supervision of 2 teams at 2 universities, as required by the European Joint Doctorate format.

A news item by the Slovenian Press Agency emphasises that the "phenomenon of oscillatory dynamic and oscillated behaviour is present everywhere, not only in very complex physical experiments." Quoted in the same news item, COSMOS coordinator Arkady Pikovsky says: "When for example you fly from Europe to America you experience jet lag and this is your oscillatory system of day and night, your organism needs to be resynchronised to new conditions and this is one of the subjects of this field of science."

Explore further: Putting noise to work

More information: COSMOS project website: www.cosmos-itn.eu/

Related Stories

Putting noise to work

September 28, 2018

Noise is often undesirable—for example, in a recorded conversation in a noisy room, in astronomical observations with large background signals, or in image processing. A research team from China, Spain and Germany has demonstrated ...

Modeling the rhythmic electrical activities of the brain

January 24, 2017

Researchers studying the brain have long been interested in its neural oscillations, the rhythmic electrical activity that plays an important role in the transmission of information within the brain's neural circuits. In ...

A new complex network-based approach to topic modeling

July 30, 2018

Researchers at Northwestern University, the University of Bath, and the University of Sydney have developed a new network approach to topic models, machine learning strategies that can discover abstract topics and semantic ...

Recommended for you

Mechanism helps explain the ear's exquisite sensitivity

January 16, 2019

The human ear, like those of other mammals, is so extraordinarily sensitive that it can detect sound-wave-induced vibrations of the eardrum that move by less than the width of an atom. Now, researchers at MIT have discovered ...

Topological quantities flow

January 14, 2019

Topology is an emerging field within many scientific disciplines, even leading to a Nobel Physics Prize in 2016. Leiden physicist Marcello Caio and his colleagues have now discovered the existence of topological currents ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.