University of California Multi-Campus Complexity Events 2008-2009

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  • [multicampus complexity videoconference.

CLICK HERE for 2009-2010 events.
2008 Calendar Calendar printable (two saturday 3.5 hour conferences with lunch provided to be scheduled)

COURSE CREDITS- Grad and Undergrad

  1. UCI fall:SOC SCI 240A (fall 72100) grad and undergrad 1.33 credits per quarter. Instructor Douglas R. White,
  2. UCLA: Anthro M193/Hum CS M193P (both undergrad) and Anthro 294 (grad). Journal Club, Human Complex Systems Seminar. 1 unit. Instructor: Dwight Read, and Course Coordinator: John Bragin,
  3. UCSD:ANTH 203 "Four-Campus Video conference" seminar (undergrads may also take for credit) Instructor: Geoff Braswell anthro,


  1. UCI fall: AIRB 3030 UCI, WINTER AIRB 1030, Spring AIRB 3030 UCI (Anteater I&R Bld)
  2. UCLA f-w-s 285 Powell Library
  3. UCSD f-w-s UCSD 260 Galbraith Hall

Calit2 Videoconference Friday June 24 2008

6-8 PM. Tom Levy (Anthropology, UCSD), Maurizio Seracini (Director, CISA3 Archaeology), Falko Kuester (Calit2 Professor of Visualization and Virtual Reality) In Search of Solomon, Gabriel and Internet Archaeology: Using Engineering and Scientific Methods to Explore the Past Calit2 Auditorium, Atkinson Hall, UCSD

Unscheduled speakers

  1. Michael König, ETH Zurich (Oct 10, 24th, Jan 9 or later)

BSCS Thursday October 9 Vijay Vazirani

The first talk of this year's Behavioral, Social and Computer Sciences Seminar Series originates from the Calit2 Auditorium in Atkinson Hall at UCSD, sponsored by Calit2, from 1pm-2:30pm:

Vijay Vazirani, College of Computing, Georgia Tech, Nash Bargaining Via Flexible Budget Markets

The talk will be webcast live at [Windows Media and broadband connection required]

The BSCS seminar website for this series is at which has info on the talks scheduled for Nov and Dec as well, and both will be webcast.

HSC Videoconference Friday October 10 2008 Brian Skyrms

Speaker at UCI: AIRB room 3030 (Anteater Instructional and Research Building), Beamed to UCLA 285 Powell Library and UCSD 260 Galbraith Hall - MAPS

Brian Skyrms, UCI IMBS, Distinguished Professor, Depts. of Logic, Philosophy of Science, & Economics "Signals: Common Knowledge, the Cooperative Principle, and Adaptive Dynamics"

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Background reading: Evolutionary Dynamics of Lewis Signaling Games: Signaling Systems vs. Partial Pooling - May 2008 version - Simon Huttegger, Brian Skyrms, Rory Smead, Kevin Zollman

Learning To Signal - Article in press

HSC Videoconference Friday October 24 2008 Douglas White

1:30-3:00 Speaker at UCSD 260 Galbraith Hall, Beamed to UCLA 285 Powell Library and UCI: AIRB room 3030 (Anteater Instructional and Research Building) - MAPS - Calit2

Wikipedia:Douglas R. White (Anthropology, UCI; Chair, Social Dynamics and Complexity group in IMBS at UCI; External faculty, Santa Fe Institute), Kinship Computing and Complexity: Cohesion, Class and Community presentation Discussant Dwight Read's Commentary here.

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Abstract: P-systems are models of the empirical elementary relations of marriage and parentage in kinship networks that, to capture the general principles and empirical diversity of human kinship, use the formal representation of graphs embedded within the nodes of other graphs. These include marriage nodes that encapsulate couples and the nuclear families that arise from them, and the easily demarcatable units of structural endogamy created by marital relinking. The connections between the nodes at the outer level in a P-system are especially useful in the analysis of marriage and descent, while at inner level we can describe how individuals are embedded in the kinship structure. Sociological and ethnographic examples illustrate the role of structural cohesion in causes and consequences of social class, ethnicities, religious groups, stayers versus migrants, endo-clans, factions, regions of exchange, and community formation and the network dynamics of kinship formations.

Background reading: As shown in White and Johansen's (2006) ethnographic case study, P-system network formalisms capture not only nomographic conceptual distinctions, as between Lévi-Strauss (1949) in the theory of marriage alliance, Murdock (1949) in the extensionist theory of kinship, or Bourdieu (1977) and Harrison White (2008) in the theory of embedded social practices, but also the contrastive ideographic perspectives of different kin systems. Painstakingly concrete but formalized mathematically, P-systems, notably P-graphs and Tipp-graphs, provide a means to study how discrete changes occur over time in the elements and relational patterns of kinship systems. P-systems synthesize key elements of many different theoretical approaches, including those of complex systems, rather than endorsing favored theories. This talk presents examples of the network analyses of empirical kinship networks and what they can show us in terms of general social theory.

Within the field of kinship computing, P-systems (Harary and White 2001) incorporate and generalize the P-graph kinship network analysis of White and Jorion (1992) which traces back to a number of Parisian precursors (Weil, Guilbaud, ...). Kinship computing has contributed a wide range of substantive contributions that are reviewed here. White and Houseman (

Bourdieu P. 1977 Outline of a Theory of Practice. // Harary F, and White D. 2001 P-Systems: A Structural Model for Kinship Studies. Connections // Lévi-Strauss C. 1949 Elementary Structures of Kinship. // Murdock G. 1949 Social Structure. // White D. and Houseman 2002 The Navigability of Strong Ties: Small Worlds, Tie Strength and Network Topology Complexity // White D. and Johansen 2006. Network Analysis and Ethnographic Problems. // White D. and Jorion 1992. Representing and Analyzing Kinship: A network approach. Current Anthropology // White H. 2008 (2nd Edition) Identity and Control: How Social Formations Occur.

HSC Videoconference Friday November 7 2008 Alicia Juarrero

Humanities series 1:30-3:00 PST; UCLA Powell 285; UCSD 260 Galbraith Hall; UCI 3030 AIRB (Anteater Instructional and Research Building) - MAPS

This talk originates from Prince George's Community College in Maryland.

Alicia Juarrero: "Dynamics in Action, Intentional Behavior as a Complex System: Dynamical systems account of mental causation" presentation

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There was some debate about the need for far-from-equilibrium dissipative structures 
after the talk, followed by emails, resulting in consultation on Cosma Shalizi for
clarifications of both topics: Equilibrium and dissipative structures.

What is the difference between a wink and a blink? The answer is important not only to philosophers of mind, for significant moral and legal consequences rest on the distinction between voluntary and involuntary behavior. However, "action theory" -- the branch of philosophy that has traditionally articulated the boundaries between action and non-action, and between voluntary and involuntary behavior -- has been unable to account for the difference.

Alicia Juarrero argues that a mistaken, 350-year-old model of cause and explanation -- one that takes all causes to be of the push-pull, efficient cause sort, and all explanation to be proof-like -- underlies contemporary theories of action. Juarrero then proposes a new framework for conceptualizing causes based on complex adaptive systems. Thinking of causes as dynamical constraints makes bottom-up and top-down causal relations, including those involving intentional causes, suddenly tractable. A different logic for explaining actions -- as historical narrative, not inference -- follows if one adopts this novel approach to long-standing questions of action and responsibility.

Her book, Dynamics In Action, presents a complexity view of action theory, an area of philosophy of psychology. Dynamics In Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System EMERGENCE 2(2): 24–57 summarizes the book and Complex Dynamical Systems and the Problem of Identity is a paper from 2002 EMERGENCE 4(1/2): 94–104.

A review of the book from The Journal of American Psychology:

The book is available as a non-printable download from MIT for members of CogNet, that is if your institution has a subscription:

UCSD will be the co-ordinating campus for UCLA and UCI and will make the video recording -- although the talk is not originating from a UC campus. The video recording will be transferred by Jeff Fisher at UCI, who will post to our website url.

BSCS Videoconference Wednesday November 12 2008 James Fowler

Behavioral, social and computer science lecture series

  • 1:00 - 2:30 pm - Location: Calit2 Auditorium, Atkinson Hall, UCSD Live Webcast
  • James Fowler, UC San Diego Associate Professor, Political Science
  • A Model of Genetic Variation in Human Social Networks Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (6): 1720–1724. (with Christopher T. Dawes, Nicholas A. Christakis)

Abstract, Bio, paper, and BSCS series

HSC Videoconference Friday November 21 2008 Todd Presner

Humanities series 1:30-3:00 PST; UCLA Powell 285; UCSD 260 Galbraith Hall; UCI 3030 AIRB (Anteater Instructional and Research Building) - MAPS

Todd Presner, Assoc. Prof. UCLA, Germanic Languages, Jewish Studies, and Comparative Literature. Faculty Chair, UCLA Center for Digital Humanities.

“HyperCities: Building A New Learning Environment" I'll mainly be speaking from a live website, which students can access: Viewers may register and use their logins to view the sites on the web in join the hypercities groups that are public.


Built out of and on top of real cities, HyperCities ( is a collaborative learning platform that augments the space and time of the physical world with the information web and renders the experience of the World Wide Web geographic and temporal. A HyperCity is a real city overlaid with its geo-temporal information, ranging from its architectural and urban history to family genealogies and the stories of the people and diverse communities who live and lived there. Our first HyperCities are Los Angeles, New York, Berlin, Lima, Ollantaytambo, Rome, and Tel Aviv, with many more in the works. As a platform that reaches deeply into archival collections and aggregates digital content, HyperCities not only transforms how information is produced, stored, retrieved, shared, repurposed, and experienced but also transforms how human beings interact with information and one another in space and time.

Awarded one of the first "digital media and learning" prizes by the MacArthur Foundation/HASTAC in 2008 (, HyperCities is an unprecedented collaboration between universities, community partners, and cultural institutions to develop innovative teaching tools, technologies, and partnerships in the burgeoning field of digital cultural mapping. HyperCities represents the culmination of over ten years of work in establishing best-practices, technological prototypes, and award-winning geo-historical content for these cities. Born out of Web 2.0 technologies (particularly, the Google Maps API and social networking) , HyperCities represents a new educational environment that links generations and knowledge communities, mobilizing an array of technologies (from GPS-enabled cell phones to GIS mapping tools and geo-temporal databases) to pioneer a truly participatory, open-ended learning ecology in which digital information is connected with the physical world. HyperCities is a collaborative learning platform in which users "browse" cities by drilling down through time, make new discoveries as they move through space, and animate the ever-growing repositories of cultural memory.

Todd Presner is Associate Professor of Germanic Languages, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the Founder and Principal Investigator of the HyperCities project. Dr Presner is the author of two books: Mobile Modernity: Germans, Jews, Trains (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007) and Muscular Judaism: The Jewish Body and the Politics of Regeneration (London: Routledge Curzon, 2007). He teaches classes on modern Germany and intellectual history, including the cultural and urban history of Berlin, the Holocaust in literature and film, as well as classes on media studies and digital humanities. Dr Presner received the 2006 Copenhaver Teaching with Technology Award at UCLA. In 2008, he won a MacArthur "Digital Media and Learning" award for the HyperCities project. He is also the co-Principal Investigator of UCLA's new Keck Program in Digital Cultural Mapping. Personal Website:

Recent press on 'Hypermedia Berlin':

flash film on Hypermedia Berlinin the Spring, 2006 issue of VECTORS: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular
The book as landscape hypermedia Hypermedia Berlin represents an extraordinary achievement in accessible urban representation. Great cities like Berlin are densely layered and almost inconceivably complex palimpsests. Attempts to represent that historically-layered complexity have, for generations (since the rise of urban research), foundered on the rock of the printed page.

Peer Response by: Philip Ethington, University of Southern California, 9.14.05:

HSC Videoconference Friday January 9 2009 Donald Saari

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Donald Saari
AIRB 1030 UCI (audience) - link for this page

2009 calendar printable

Donald Saari, Administrator, Institute Mathematical Behavioral Sciences; UCI Distinguished Professor: Departments of Economics and Mathematics

Complexity -- seemingly everywhere!

ABSTRACT: Almost all disciplines involve complex interactions at many scales. This ranges from how what people do in their everyday life affects communities and how that affects the state, to addiction where we know what drugs and chemicals cause different pleasure and avoidance but we have yet to discover how to coordinate all of this into a system to prevent addiction, to organizations where the intent is for the parts to contribute to define a whole, and even to nano technology where while behavior at the nano and other scales affects macro behavior, we have yet to understand how. I don't have answers for these questions, but I do know what goes wrong with how we normally try to handle multi scale systems. That is the content of my expository talk.

UCI IMBS Conference Friday-Saturday January 23-25 2009

Adaptive Systems and Mechanism Design Luce Conference Room, SSPA 2112.

  • Friday 1:30-4:00
Kenneth Arrow
John Ledyard
  • Saturday 9:00-12:00
Dirk Bergermann
Eric Maskin
John Duggan
  • Saturday 1:45-5:00
Tim Roughgarden
Simon Levin
Asu Ozdaglar
  • Sunday 9-12
General Discussion

Conference Description: A need to understand how a system of interaction, rewards, etc. can be created in order to accomplish a desired outcome is a goal that is shared by several disciplines, ranging from political science, economics, engineering and computer science: this is one of the objectives of mechanism design. Closely related is the need to understand how biological and other systems adapt to new circumstances: this is the area of adaptive systems. This interdisciplinary workshop will consider all of these issues from different perspectives.

The conference is open to all and we hope you will be able to join us.

Donald Saari, Director, IMBS

HSC Videoconference Friday February 6 2009 Dwight Read

Read ImageSmall2.jpg

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Dwight Read, Anthropology, UCLA, Director, Human Complex Systems program

  • From Experiential-Based to Relational-Based Forms of Social Organization: A Major Transition in the Evolution of Homo sapiens presentation - ppt

Abstract: The evolutionary trajectory from non-human to human forms of social organization involves change from experiential to relational-based systems of social interaction. Social organization derived from biologically and experientially grounded social interaction reached a hiatus with the pongids due to expansion of more individualized behaviors. The hiatus ended, for hominid evolution, with the introduction of relational-based social interaction that culminated in social organization based on culturally defined systems of kinship. This evolutionary trajectory links biological origins to cultural outcomes and makes evident the centrality of distributed forms of information for both the boundary and internal structure of human societies as these evolved from prior forms of social organization.

HSC Videoconference Friday February 20 2009 Carter Butts


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1:30-3:00 Speaker at UCI: AIRB room 1030 (Anteater Instructional and Research Building), Beamed to UCLA 285 Powell Library and UCSD 260 Galbraith Hall

  • Carter Butts, Sociology, UC Irvine
  • Responding to Complex Problems: Emergent Networks During Disasters
  • Abstract Disasters, by nature, pose complex problems involving multiple, interdependent tasks which must be solved in a highly disrupted environment. Effectively responding to these problems typically requires extensive coordination at both the individual and organizational levels, leading to the emergence of communication, collaboration, and assistance networks among responding entities. In this talk, I discuss several recent studies of emergent networks during disasters, with an emphasis on what these networks can tell us about the factors that do -- or do not -- seem to drive interaction in disrupted settings. Some implications for planning and technology design will also be discussed.

HSC Videoconference Friday March 6 2009 James Fowler

James fowler pic.jpg

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  • 1:30-3:00 Speaker at UCSD 260 Galbraith Hall, Beamed to UCLA 285 Powell Library and UCI: AIRB room 1030 (Anteater Instructional and Research Building)

James H. Fowler Wikipedia Associate Professor, Political Science Department, UCSD. His current interests include social networks, behavioral economics, evolutionary game theory, political participation, the evolution of cooperation, and genopolitics (the study of the genetic basis of political behavior).

see: Matthew O. Jackson. 2009. Genetic influences on social network characteristics PNAS Commentary on A Model of Genetic Variation in Human Social Networks

The genetic basis of human social networks presentation

Social networks exhibit strikingly systematic patterns across a wide range of human contexts. While genetic variation accounts for a significant portion of the variation in many complex social behaviors, the heritability of egocentric social network attributes is unknown. Here we show that three of these attributes (in-degree, transitivity, and centrality) are heritable. We then develop a "mirror network" method to test extant network models and show that none accounts for observed genetic variation in human social networks. We propose an alternative "Attract and Introduce" model with two simple forms of heterogeneity that generates significant heritability as well as other important network features. We show that the model is well suited to real social networks in humans. These results suggest that natural selection may have played a role in the evolution of social networks. They also suggest that modeling intrinsic variation in network attributes may be important for understanding the way genes affect human behaviors and the way these behaviors spread from person to person.

See: 2008. A Model of Genetic Variation in Human Social Networks Wikipedia:James H. Fowler, Christopher T. Dawes, Nicholas A. Christakis

Using the lingua franca of math, Albert-László Barabási describes networks in the World Wide Web, the internet, the human body, and society at large. James Fowler seeks to identify the social and biological links that define us as humans. But whereas Barabási sees similarity across systems, Fowler believes that the underlying principle in social networks may be inherent variation.

Genetics of popularity

Multi-UC Complexity Conference (Tentative) @ UCLA, Saturday, March 14, 2009, 9:30am to 4:15pm

HSC Videoconference Friday April 3 2009 Postponed to Fall (Read and White on Sabbatical)

HSC Videoconference Friday April 17 2009 Postponed to Fall

HSC Videoconference Friday May 1 2009 Postponed to Fall

HSC Videoconference Friday May 15 2009 Postponed to Fall

HSC Videoconference Friday May 29 2009 Postponed to Fall

Dates 2008-2009