High robustness against noise and structural damage is a fascinating property of biological systems. Both living cells and entire organisms are able to maintain their complex functional dynamics despite the presence of strong environmental variations and of internal fluctuations. They are typically able to adjust to the occurrence of structural perturbations, induced by mutations or external impact, and can continue to operate in a required way, without collapse or disruption of their functions.

Human societies share many features with bio-organisms and living cells. Individuals and their groups in a society are involved in a complex network of communication and physical interactions responsible for the persistence of the society as a whole. While social interactions are often stochastic, they should yield – in a well-organized society – ordered and predictable collective dynamics. Fragile societies, which are not able to accommodate even minor disturbances, are thrown away by the course of history.

Modern industrial manufacturing and transportation networks have often already reached the size and the complexity level where their operation can no longer be externally and rigidly regulated. Instead, their specific functions should, to a large extent, emerge in a self-organization process as an outcome of elementary interactions. The stability of industrial production and logistic systems with respect to local operation disruptions and globally distributed variations is an issue of high practical importance.

The robustness of biological systems is a product of long natural evolution, selecting those organisms and cells, which can better resist fluctuations and damage. To a certain degree, robustness of social organization is an emergent property imposed by historical evolution. However, regulation of social processes is also a matter of design. Indeed, it is the task of any government and parliament to formulate and to enforce laws that would ensure stability of the entire state and its smooth functioning. On the other hand, industrial production and transportation systems are fully planned and designed to meet customers’ demands and manufacturing constraints. Endowing such systems with a capacity to withstand damage and adapt to demand variations is highly desirable.

What are dynamical mechanisms and network architectures which promote robustness? Is it possible to formulate general principles that determine robust functional dynamics? Does robustness emerge through natural evolution? Can computer evolution processes be used to design robust systems? What are the footprints of robustness and can one discern common structural motifs and other statistical properties in robust systems of various origins?

A conference addressing these issues will take place from September 21 to September 25, 2010 in Palma de Mallorca (Spain), hosted by IFISC (Institute of Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems). The conference is open to all interested scientists. Besides the invited-speakers talks there will be a number of contributed talks and a poster session. Applications for participation and contributions should be made through the Application link at the top of this page before July 21, 2010.

Announcement PDF version

More pictures here.

Scientific coordination:
Marc-Thorsten Hütt, Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany
Alexander S. Mikhailov, Fritz Haber Institute, Berlin, Germany
Raúl Toral, IFISC (UIB-CSIC), Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Invited Speakers

Dept. Enginyeria Informàtica i Matemàtiques, Universidad Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain
Department of Mathematics, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA
Institut für Theoretische Physik, Universität Bremen, Germany
Instituto de Física Interdisciplinar y Sistemas Complejos, UIB-CSIC, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Departament de Física i Enginyeria Nuclear, Escola Tecnica Superior d'Enginyeries Industrial i Aeronàutica de Terrassa, Terrassa, Spain
Max-Planck-Institut für Physik Komplexer Systeme, Dresden, Germany
Department of Basic Science, University of Tokyo, Japan
Groupement de Recherche en Economie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille, France
Laboratoire de Physique Theoreque de la Matiere Condensee, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
Department of Physiology and Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics in Physiology and Medicine, McGill University, Drummond, Canada
Instituto Carlos I de Física Teórica y Computacional, Granada, Spain
Faculty of Traffic and Transport Sciences Technical University Dresden, Germany
Universidad de Barcelona, Spain
Honda Research Institute Europe, Offenbach, Germany
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Chair of Entrepreneurial Risks, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
School of Engineering and Science, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany
Centro Atomico Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentina

For any information about the Workshop, please email:

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