Who, What, Where, etc.:

  • Instructor: Prof. Peter Dodds
  • Lecture room and meeting times: 010 Morrill Hall
  • Meeting time: Tuesday and Thursday, 1:00 pm to 2:15 pm
  • Office: Farrell Hall, Trinity Campus
  • Office hours: Wednesday, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
The course syllabus is here and a flyer for the course is here.


Many of the problems we face in the modern world revolve around comprehending, controlling, and designing multi-scale, interconnected systems. Networked systems, for example, facilitate the diffusion and creation of ideas, the physical transportation of people and goods, and the distribution and redistribution of energy. Complex systems such as the human body and ecological systems are typically highly balanced, flexible, and robust, but also susceptible to systemic collapse. These complex problems almost always have economic, social, and technological aspects.

The basic aim of this introductory interdisciplinary course is to present a suite of theories and ideas that have evolved in the pursuit of understanding complex systems. The central focus will be on understanding small-scale mechanisms that give rise to observed systemic phenomena. Students will be encouraged to see how different areas connect to each other and, just as importantly, where analogies break down.

Assignments will comprise challenge questions, intermediate between standard coursework problems and more open, research type enigmas.

This course is one of the two core requirements for the Certificate of Graduate Study in Complex Systems within the University of Vermont's Complex Systems Center.