Our project addresses several different problems, in various fields where modem statistical offers a unifying point of view: we will study complex systems in a number of research areas outside the traditional frontiers of physics where the application of these methods looks particularly promising. They all relate to the collective behavior of heterogeneous agents, where the "agents" can be as diverse as logical constraints in optimization problems or error correcting codes, proteins in molecular networks, or economic agents.
Our proposal has four main directions.
- Combinatorial optimization problems. Optimization is naturally related to questions that are typical of statistical physics, like for example questions about energy landscapes, dynamics in these landscapes, thermalization and out-of-equilibrium processes at work in the algorithms.
- Error correcting codes. This is a field of significant practical importance. The observation that error correcting codes are mathematically equivalent to certain theoretical models of spin glasses makes it possible to use modem methods of the theory of disordered systems to obtain new results for error correcting codes, with particular emphasis on capacity, decoding performances and finite size effects.
- Biological systems. Biological systems are a source of interesting and relevant problems that can be successfully treated by methods of statistical physics. The recent accumulation of data on genetic sequences signals the existence of complex correlations in these systems, and calls for the development of new methods of analysis and classification of complex biological networks.
- Interacting agents in financial markets and socio-economic systems. Our strategy in these fields is to first identify relevant 'stylized facts' in empirical data and simple 'benchmark' models that can be analyzed in great detail using the concepts and tools from statistical physics. We shall focus on models of interacting a
Funding SchemeNET - Research network contracts
91405 Gometz La Ville
OX1 3RH Oxford
B4 7ET Birmingham