Computer Systems Laboratory Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, March 09, 2005
NEC Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B03

Complexity and Robustness

Jean Carlson
University of California, Santa Barbara
About the talk:

Concepts such as robustness, resilience, diversity, predictability, and evolvability arise widely in the context of complex, highly interconnected systems, and demand development of new tools and sharper definitions. Highly Optimized Tolerance (HOT) was recently introduced as a conceptual framework to study fundamental aspects of complexity. HOT is motivated primarily by systems from biology and engineering and emphasizes 1) highly structured, nongeneric, self-dissimilar internal configurations and 2) robust, yet fragile external behavior. HOT claims these are the most important features of complexity and are not accidents of evolution or artifices of engineering design, but are inevitably intertwined and mutually reinforcing. To date, HOT has been strikingly successful in capturing fundamental characteristics of a wide range of complex systems, and has led new insights and detailed predictions in specific applications, including the internet and microbiology.

About the speaker:

[photo] Jean M. Carlson received a B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University in 1984, an M.S.E. in Applied and Engineering Physics from Cornell University in 1987, and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics from Cornell in 1988. After Postdoctoral work at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, at the University of California Santa Barbara, she joined the faculty at UCSB in 1990, where she is currently a Professor of Physics. She is a recipient of Fellowship Awards from the Sloan Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the McDonnell Foundation. Carlson's research interests include a combination of foundational work and a variety of practical applications of complex systems theory, including earthquakes, wildfires, and optimization and design in networks.

Contact information:

Professor Jean M. Carlson
Department of Physics
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106