In contrast to the twentieth century's huge success in reductionist research programmes epitomised by atomic, genetic and molecular science, this coming century will see an increasing focus on systemic science and engineering, targeting physical, biological, environmental, social, and technological systems and their interactions, and addressing questions of system function, organisation, management, stability, resilience, and evolvability.
The current surge in complexity science research is being driven by new theory, pressing real-world challenges and the opportunity to exploit an unprecedented availability of computational power.
The Southampton Institute for Complex Systems Simulation (ICSS) provides a stimulating home for interdisciplinary research that combines complex systems ideas and tools with computational methods in order to address challenges within key application domains spanning climate, pharma, biosciences, nanoscience, medical and chemical systems, transport, the environment, engineering & computing.
Our Doctoral Programme
Alongside interdisciplinarity and high-throughput experimentation, simulation modelling is already emerging as the key tool for addressing today's most pressing research questions. With the ready availability of cheap computational power, simulation building is becoming a viable option for doctoral students across a wide range of disciplines. The EPSRC recognise that training in how best to deploy computational resources to understand complex target systems needs to be prioritised immediately.
We believe that effective training must be delivered in the context of live research challenges within relevant complex systems domains. It must address issues of technical implementation and how to exploit the state of the art in high-performance computing, but also inculcate broad methodological sophistication. In particular, command of the interdependent relationship between simulation, mathematical modelling, and experimentation is crucial, as is a grasp of the different strengths and weaknesses of simulation modelling approaches ranging from finite element methods through multi-scale models to agent-based modelling, and from efficient numerical methods for solving mathematical models through abstract computational thought experiments to realistic predictive simulation models. In achieving this, the ICSS has generated a community of doctoral graduates equipped to act as research leaders in applying complex systems simulation to the most pressing scientific and engineering challenges of the 21st century.