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TG4.3: Complex systems

Mission Statement

Complex systems science, including biophysics, polymer physics, fluid dynamics, non-linear statistical physics, have been more recognized as having made impactful contributions.  Nobel prizes in chemistry were given in 2011 for the discovery of quasi-crystals, in 2014 for super-resolution microscopy, in 2017 for cryo-EM development for studying biomolecules, in 2018 for directed evolution that nowadays extend into statistical physics and network physics of proteins, in 2020 for CRISPR that developed an epoch-making and powerful genetic editing technique from a bacterial evolutionary immune mechanism, and in physics for the development of the optical tweezer and its application for studying biomolecules. 

Although the local physics community in these areas is small, we actively organize regular workshops aimed at training junior scientists, establishing domestic collaborations within and outside the physics community, and invite international experts to visit, to network, and to exchange frontier developments in these areas.  Following NCTS’s existing mission to develop and encourage collaborations and nurture junior scientists, the Complex Systems Thematic Group supports research activities that strengthen communication and collaboration in interdisciplinary Complex Systems studies.  The major Research Themes are

-   Complex networks and pattern formation

-   Soft matter and complex fluids

-   Self-driven particles and organisms

-   Biological physics

I. Coordinator: 
Hsuan-Yi Chen(NCU)

Cheng-Hung Chang(NYCU)

II. Core Members: 
Center Scientists
Prof. Hsuan-Yi Chen (NCU)
Prof. Cheng-Hung Chang (NYCU)

Other Core Members
Prof. Yeng-Long Chen (AS)
Prof. Kuo-An Wu (NTHU)
Prof. Hong-Yan Shih (AS)
Prof. Pik-Yin Lai (NCU)
Prof. Lee-Wei Yang (NTHU)
Prof. Sheng-Hong Chen (AS)
Prof. Chien-Jung Lo (NCU)

III. Research Themes: 
Biophysics; Soft Matter; Polymer Physics; Fluid Physics; Non-linear Statistical Physics; Complex Systems

IV. Activities: 
a. Winter School (Frontiers of Complex Systems Science Workshop) 
b. Complex Symposium
c. Taipei International Workshop on Soft Matter and Biophysics (every two years)
d. NCTS Complex Systems online seminars

V. Expected achievements:
The general philosophy in the Complex Systems Physics is to reduce complexity to simplicity – similar to cellular automata, to reproduce complex behavior with simple rules.  In the event that the complexity is too great, such as in weather prediction, stock market movement, fluid turbulence, one seeks to find physical characteristics that are analogous to other simpler systems, such as found for critical phenomena and universality classes.  In recent years, several hot topics have emerged, including (1) collective motion of active particles, such as found for bacteria swarming, synchronized protein oscillations, and fish schools.  (2) Mapping of turbulent flow to predator-prey universality class. (3) How mechanical deformations affect cell and cell cluster dynamics under flow and in constricted environments.

TG activities aim to introduce and educate new generations of junior and senior scientists by frequent exposure to frontier research in different disciplines, in order to spur cross-disciplinary collaborations.   To achieve these goals, we will involve postdoctoral fellows, under the supervision of Center Scientists, to organize (1) regular meetings between center scientists and core members at which potential collaborators from physics or other disciplines are invited to have informal and thorough discussions.  (2) Annual workshops for educating junior scientists and to present and discuss their research results. Furthermore, the TG provides support for international visitors in related research areas to interact with TG members and the postdoctoral fellows on advancing Complex Systems research.