Note! This is an archival, mostly functional site. All courses can be found here.

From the non-cinematic PoCSverse and the Department of Advanced Macrodata Refinement:

Principles of

Complex Systems

Vols. 1 & 2

Season 17, 2021–2022

My Image
Building from 2007 on
The PoCSening
There Can Be Only Two Courses

Tarot Cards

We have them.

Here's a random one.

Their origins are disputed but Tarot cards will be our guides.

But only if we believe.

"PoCS was a transformative experience in my life without a question. Changed the way I thought about science and life. I wouldn't be the same person without it."

Read more student comments here.

Things to be known:

  • Identifying marks:

    Regional Unreliable Deliverator and Occasional Show Runner:
    Prof. Peter Dodds.

    Meeting room and time for Vol. 1: 003 Perkins. Don't name things after people.

    Meeting room and time for Vol. 2: 411 407 Lafayette. No one. Ideals instead. Still.

    Assistant to the Regional Deliverator: Position awarded after summer-long, reality TV talent contest. Michael Arnold reclaims the crown.

    Office hours: To be determined by ancient ritual involving divination by spork. Possibly held on Teams.

  • Content delivery:

    All clips and episodes (recorded lectures) and slides are organized here and here.

    Follow @pocsvox, @networksvox, and @storyologyvox for super-duper interesting things.

    We will be using Microsoft Teams. It's not awful. It's also not not awful. Invites are automatic for enrolled students.

    Team members can interact with other Complex Systems and Data Science students on Slack [private].

  • Prerequisites:

    The level will be graduate/advanced undergraduate and students are expected to have strong general backgrounds in mathematics, statistics, and coding.

    The complete syllabus lives here and a poster for your wall is here.

  • Series:

    This site houses two courses: Principles of Complex Systems (Fall, 2021)
    Complex Networks (Spring 2022).
    They form a highly interconnected two course sequence. The fall semester is a self-contained story while the stories of the spring are spin-off investigations along with partly fashioned tales.

    The unofficial course names are Principles of Complex Systems, Vols. 1 and 2.

    Both courses are part of the curriculum for the Graduate Certificate in Complex Systems and the Masters of Science in Complex Systems and Data Science at the University of Vermont.

Synopsis for PoCS:

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.

So what do we know about complex systems? The aim of this introductory, interdisciplinary course is to impart knowledge of a suite of theories and ideas and tools that have evolved over the last century in the pursuit of understanding complex systems. We’ll touch on everything from physics to sociology, from randomness to cities to language and stories.

Throughout the course, we’ll maintain a focus on (1) scaling phenomena; (2) the roles of simple and complicated models; (3) real small-scale mechanisms that give rise to observed macro phenomena, (2) scaling phenomena, (4) complex networks, (5) contagion and spreading of biological and social nature, and (6) stories-at-large. We will explore how seemingly disparate systems have in similar ways—the phenomenon of universality—and, and just as importantly, where tempting analogies break down.

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

The following will not be part of the course:

My Image

An increasingly ancient example episode from late in Season 9, 2015:

From early on in PoCS video development, which started in 2013. We would spend some years in a pandemic-generated online world, and PoCS was well prepared for the pox (which has been a core topic from the start).

PoCS is Sixteen

All about counting to twelve, twelve times, here.

Let's learn to count to twelve, Sesame Street style:

All about counting to twelve, twelve times, here.

Let's learn to count to twelve, Sesame Street style:

All about counting to twelve, twelve times, here.

Schoolhouse Rock:

The powers of Eleven: