subject
Intro

Complexity Explorer: Introduction to Complexity

 with  Melanie Mitchell
Sponsored
Internet of Things
University of Technology Sydney via Open Learning
Class Central Course Rank
#2 in Subjects > Science

HIGHEST RATED MOOC

This course is a Top 50 MOOC of All Time based on thousands of reviews written by Class Central users. It's guaranteed to be good!

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In this re-offering of our popular introductory course, you'll learn about the tools used by scientists to understand complex systems. The topics you'll learn about include dynamics, chaos, fractals, information theory, self-organization, agent-based modeling, and networks. You’ll also get a sense of how these topics fit together to help explain how complexity arises and evolves in nature, society, and technology. There are no prerequisites. You don't need a science or math background to take this introductory course; it simply requires an interest in the field and the willingness to participate in a hands-on approach to the subject. 

Syllabus

  1. What is Complexity?
  2. Dynamics and Chaos
  3. Fractals
  4. Information, Order, and Randomness
  5. Genetic Algorithms
  6. Cellular Automata
  7. Models of Biological Self-Organization
  8. Models of Cooperation in Social Systems
  9. Networks
  10. Scaling in Biology and Society
  11. Wrapping Up; Virtual Field Trip
82 Student
reviews
Cost Free Online Course
Pace Upcoming
Subject Science
Institution Santa Fe Institute
Language English
Certificates Certificate Available
Hours 3-6 hours a week
Calendar 10 weeks long

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Reviews for Complexity Explorer's Introduction to Complexity
4.9 Based on 82 reviews

  • 5 stars 93%
  • 4 stars 6%
  • 3 star 0%
  • 2 star 1%
  • 1 star 0%

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  • 1
5.0 4 years ago
Neelesh Marik completed this course.
This course moved the needle on my understanding of this fascinating subject space, and introduced some rigour into what was earlier mostly just doe-eyed interest: fractals, the information-energy relationship, complex adaptive systems, universal computation, autopoiesis and network theory.

Together with Scott Page's Model Thinking, this course brought alive for me new patterns and truths that the 21st century is asking us to appreciate and embrace, as part of the process of defining a new narrative for humanity. Centralization, control, simplistic programmed thinking, ossification and stasis of viewpoints, the linearity bias etc are out of sync with the evolutionary reality of our times; individuals and institutions who are not smelling the coffee will be left cold in the stone age. Complex thought has to enter educational and human development processes and curricula sooner rather than later. The Santa Fe Institute is a pillar of this much needed shift.

Th
Read more
This course moved the needle on my understanding of this fascinating subject space, and introduced some rigour into what was earlier mostly just doe-eyed interest: fractals, the information-energy relationship, complex adaptive systems, universal computation, autopoiesis and network theory.

Together with Scott Page's Model Thinking, this course brought alive for me new patterns and truths that the 21st century is asking us to appreciate and embrace, as part of the process of defining a new narrative for humanity. Centralization, control, simplistic programmed thinking, ossification and stasis of viewpoints, the linearity bias etc are out of sync with the evolutionary reality of our times; individuals and institutions who are not smelling the coffee will be left cold in the stone age. Complex thought has to enter educational and human development processes and curricula sooner rather than later. The Santa Fe Institute is a pillar of this much needed shift.

The course provided me with a solid foundation for delving deeper into the philosophical, organizational and trans-disciplinary aspects of complexity and complex systems - including but not limited to the work of Paul Cilliers, Alfonso Montuori and Edgar Morin.

The Guest lectures were very nice and added diversity to the curriculum - I particularly enjoyed the talks on Complexity Economics.

And finally, Melanie is such a sweetheart with her infectious energy, patient enumeration and rich erudition - that makes the course every moment's worth!
6 people found
this review helpful
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5.0 4 years ago
Idikula Mathew completed this course.
I had taken the course last year and it is a very comprehensive introduction to the interesting world of complexity. The best part of the course is its variety of elements and approach taken by Melanie to simplify complex topics. Above all as a full time working person, the freedom to manage time at your own pace has been the super plus on this MOOC for me.

Its a highly recommended introduction to the topic of complex systems if complexity, nature and its patterns, behavior etc excites you.
6 people found
this review helpful
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4.0 4 years ago
Andreas Mayer completed this course.
This course provides a nice introduction into many exciting topics in complex systems science. Ideas from nonlinear dynamics, information theory and network science are reviewed in an engaging manner by the course instructor Melanie Mitchell in a series of video lectures. Short quizzes and simple simulation excercises (using the NetLogo environment) help to grasp the material. The course is light on mathematical sophistication, which probably makes it accessible for a wide audience.

For me personally the strong point of this course was what I would call "scientific tourism"! In many interviews with practioners in the field of complex systems science a myriad of interesting applications of the ideas discussed in the course were exhibited. Through these interviews one gets acquainted with some of the open questions and can appreciate the interconnections within this highly interdisciplinary field.
4 people found
this review helpful
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2.0 a year ago
Anonymous partially completed this course.
I am a little confused. I am reading some authors of the supplementary materials and I dont understand why they are celebreting new discoveries. Let me explain it, If you evaluate the knowledge about complexity you can see that they arent enough predictive models, scientists here are talking about earthquakes but they cant predict when and where they will occur and nor the magnitude. Another talked about investing in stock market but he didt quantify his earnings on the time line(there are many succsess history about it in world and many of them arent serious), others talked about eclectic point of view on nature and they do analogies, they dont consider many theories about the field in which they are giving their opinion. I have to tell the following words:

The field of complexity is growing with weak sustent.

Thanks

P.D I'll try to read Dr Mitchell's book.
0 person found
this review helpful
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5.0 4 years ago
Bernardo Furtado completed this course.
The course is a gem. It works as a general overview of complexity covering from dynamic systems to genetic algorithms to basic conceptualization. Everything is intuitive and fun to learn. It does not go deep into subjects as it is not its original proposal, but it provides a good panorama so that students can move further on their own. You might enjoy it if you are a physicist, biologist or social scientist. Level of math is basic and the end of the course fieldtrip (yes!) is delicious.
4 people found
this review helpful
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5.0 4 years ago
by Diego Riccardi completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Tremendous course, very well organized by Prof. Mitchell.

I agree with the other reviewers that

- freedom to manage time at your own pace has been the super plus on this MOOC for me.

-Level of math is basic and the end of the course fieldtrip (yes!) is delicious.

-NetLogo simulations are another plus

-you'll cope with interesting interconnections within this highly interdisciplinary and (I hope) promising field.

- great support on the course forum by Prof. Mitchell

- there is lot of great suggested materials/further reading & practice
2 people found
this review helpful
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5.0 4 years ago
Deepak Alse completed this course.
The course provides a well structured introduction to the inherently broad field of complexity. This is not a 'sit and watch' type of course - If you want to acquire the basic skills for analyzing complexity, you should engage with the content, the quizzes and the programs. It will change your perspective towards the world and you'll be surprised at how many 'miracles' you'll be able to explain after you've completed the course.
4 people found
this review helpful
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5.0 2 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
At 76 years of age; BSc, Phd Geology, BMath, and lots of work related engineering, economics and business courses, this is undoubtedly one of the best and most interesting courses I have taken. I look forward to following this up.
2 people found
this review helpful
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5.0 4 years ago
Andjela T completed this course.
This was my first MOOC experience, and to date the best one. I enjoyed the lessons, and the support and the knowledge was greatly rewarding! I could see myself specializing in this at a later stage in my career; it was a great intro into the field.
3 people found
this review helpful
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5.0 4 years ago
Rick Nason completed this course.
Clear, interesting and an excellent introduction to a variety of topics within the realm of complexity. Excellent course for those who have heard about complexity are are looking for an accessible yet sound introduction to the topic.
1 person found
this review helpful
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5.0 4 years ago
by Gaetano Pagani completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
It was my first MOOC. It took me to a new way of dealing with knowledge and culture. I spent great weeks with Prof. Mitchell and all of her guests. It was really a pleasure to go through this new and fascinating subject.
1 person found
this review helpful
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5.0 4 years ago
John Halbert completed this course.
Loved it so much I took it twice. Very grateful to finally have the opportunity to study complexity theory thru SFI. Been studying it informally for 20 years.
2 people found
this review helpful
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5.0 4 years ago
Kim completed this course.
Really amazing course. Melanie did a great job in explaining the basic concepts of complexity. Each lecture unravels its own universe and in the end they all came together.
1 person found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
5.0 a year ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Just completed this course, it's given me such a lot of joy and inspiration to find out more about complex systems and systems theory. Melanie's lectures were at just the right pace and difficulty level for a beginner, with more advanced problems discussed in the homework materials.

All essential aspects of complexity and system science were discussed -- dynamics, chaos, fractals, bits of information theory, self-similarity and -organisation, genetic algorithms and cellular automata, networks and scaling. Even complex or mathematically tricky issues were made accessible.

The video lectures are interspersed with small, ungraded quizzes, optional homework with a choice from beginner, intermediate or advanced levels, and summarised with unit exams. SFI's learning platform Complexity Explorer is slick and easy to use.

One of the best things about this course, however, was the opportunity to hear from other experts -- some of them true pioneers in the
Read more
Just completed this course, it's given me such a lot of joy and inspiration to find out more about complex systems and systems theory. Melanie's lectures were at just the right pace and difficulty level for a beginner, with more advanced problems discussed in the homework materials.

All essential aspects of complexity and system science were discussed -- dynamics, chaos, fractals, bits of information theory, self-similarity and -organisation, genetic algorithms and cellular automata, networks and scaling. Even complex or mathematically tricky issues were made accessible.

The video lectures are interspersed with small, ungraded quizzes, optional homework with a choice from beginner, intermediate or advanced levels, and summarised with unit exams. SFI's learning platform Complexity Explorer is slick and easy to use.

One of the best things about this course, however, was the opportunity to hear from other experts -- some of them true pioneers in the field -- in the guest spot videos, providing valuable insight into the field, and sharing their experience & expertise.

I can wholly recommend this course to anyone interested in finding out 'how stuff works' in the greater scheme of things.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
5.0 8 months ago
Anonymous completed this course.
So Powerful "Tools" for understanding complexity.

So Professional instructor.

So Highly Organized

THANK YOU SO MUCH, Dr.Melanie for your great efforts.

-- Abdullah Hasan
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
5.0 a year ago
Anonymous completed this course.
It's a fantastic course. Very well organized and interesting. Ideal for a real beginner as I was. Congratulations to all the team involved!
0 person found
this review helpful
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5.0 4 years ago
Sergio Dalge is taking this course right now.
A great course, great lectures, great materials. A lot of basis theory as a base for future studies.

I recommend.
1 person found
this review helpful
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5.0 a year ago
by Renata Petrevska Nechkoska completed this course.
It was with high quality, properly structured and modular, but also comprehensive and inspiring! Just the right input a person concluding writing the PhD thesis needed to cross the finish line with - highly recommendable, among others, for PhD researchers, as stable ground for innovative skies.

What is extraordinary are the first hand lectures designed and delivered from the best in the field (the ones whose work we are usually citing and referencing, trying to uncover their thought process, now giving direct lectures to the learners), and the absence of focus on profit, income, payment, limited free access etc. It brings about the true nature of scientists as the ones who carry the curiosity, intellect, energy and pure wisdom to this world and would like to teach humanity, i.e. everyone who opens his/her mind for selfless thought.
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5.0 8 months ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This was an excellent course, presented in easy to follow terms, captivating my attention all the way, with practical hands on examples that allowed a (better) understanding of some rather difficult subjects.

The areas of application, which are vast, were presented in a delightful way by the researchers interviewed by Melanie, the course leader.

At the end I've learned a lot, the course was also an eye opener to the potential of this area and to how some parts of it can be applied to my current work. It helped identify possible ways to proceed with one big project in Air Traffic Management we are currently working on.
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5.0 a year ago
by Joe Domaleski completed this course.
Brilliant course by the fine folks at the Santa Fe Institute. This excellent course by Dr. Melanie Mitchell is at once - fun, intriguing, thought-provoking, and gives one a great introduction to complexity sciences. Although she's written the definitive introductory book on the subject - the award-winning Complexity: A Guided Tour (https://www.amazon.com/Complexity-Guided-Tour-Melanie-Mitchell/dp/0199798109), this course stands on it's own merits with fun, engaging exercises in NetLogo. Highly recommended for anyone interested in math, science, and general knowledge for learning sake. Joe Domaleski, MBA, BS.
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