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The world in which we interact is becoming ever more complex. The number and types of interactions amongst people have greatly multiplied due to modern technology and its consequences on society.
Nevertheless, no commonly accepted scientific definition of ‘complexity’ exists. It is understood that widely different systems, composed of many interacting units, generate (under certain conditions) a characteristic, common phenomenology. The most prominent signature of this is the ‘emergence’ of new patterns transcending the characteristics of the individual units. Such systems are ubiquitous in many branches of natural and human sciences as well as in technology.
The promise of the science of complexity is to provide, if not a completely unified approach, at least common tools for tackling complex problems in various scientific domains. Tackling Complexity in Science aims to encourage the development and transfer of solutions and approaches to concrete, complex real-world problems from one area of science to another. It also aims to help identify, coordinate and consolidate the European community working on such problems by providing the means to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information. As required by the overall NEST mandate, the research supported in this initiative is highly interdisciplinary, innovative and holds the promise of high long-term impact, both scientific and otherwise.
The research projects offer real prospects of bridging the gap between the physical sciences, and the social and other natural sciences. They take a practical, problem-solving approach to research, grounded in observation and experimental data. At the same time, the problems are tackled from a complexity-inspired approach, which takes into account issues such as emergence, robustness and predictability. Typically, it considers complex problems from the perspective of networks or even networks of networks.

Additional information

Authors: No author stated, European Commission, DG Research, Brussels (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 22423 EN (2007), 53 pp. Free of charge
Availability: (Catalogue Number: KI-NA-22423-EN-C)
ISBN: ISBN: 92-79-03824-9
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