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Warwick Centre for Complexity Science Newsletter 

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by Gareth Alexander

This year marked the tenth intake of students to the two doctoral training centres associated to the Warwick Centre for Complexity Science. To mark the milestone, a special event was held at The Shard in London, organised by Colm Connaughton and Martine Barons. Former and current students and staff from the Centre, as well as friends, associates and external partners, all made the trip to central London on a gloriously sunny spring day and were greeted by spectacular views over the river Thames and both London and Tower Bridges from the 19th floor of the Shard. In total, over 90 people attended what was an equally successful and enjoyable day away from the office.

The programme for the day included seven presentations, covering the history and future of the Centre, the successes of our former students, and perspectives from colleagues. Robin Ball, founding Director, kicked things off with reminiscences of how he and Robert MacKay got the doctoral training centre started 10 years ago, and the research of their joint student, Maria Diakonova, one of the first intake in 2007. This was followed by a talk on traffic modelling from Eddie Wilson, Chair in Intelligent Transport Systems at Bristol and our external examiner 2008­ - 2013, who explained how to select the optimal lane on the motorway and what can happen if you don’t.
Taking on the baton from Eddie, Karoline Wiesner, Reader in Complexity Sciences at Bristol, grappled with the challenge of defining a complex system and talked about the Complex Systems Centre in Bristol.

After a break for lunch, we heard from some of our former students, with Marcus Ong (2010), CEO at Spectra Analytics, telling us about the company that he cofounded with Daniel Sprague (2010), how they are bringing complexity science to modern business practices, their future plans and the innumerable helpful tips and insights they have gained in setting up their own company. Martine Barons (2008) then gave a delightful talk about how she came to academia in mid-life to pursue a passion for how mathematics can help to improve the world; Martine is now the Director of the Applied Statistics & Risk Unit in the Statistics Department.

Big data was the buzzword of the day before deep learning, and Sandra Chapman, professor of physics and currently on sabbatical at Boston University, entertained us with her data driven approach to space weather. Finally, Robert MacKay talked about the future of Complexity Science, both as a subject and a Warwick institution.

The day ended with a drinks reception admiring the stunning views over the Thames and with plenty of time for discussions about the future and networking.

Fri 29 Jun 2018, 13:55 | Tags: Anniversary Celebration, MathSys, Complexity