Complexity Sciences Center

Funding       Innovation Network     


Researching Complex Systems: The Center currently is home to over 30 researchers from graduate students to faculty who are developing theory and applications of complex systems. Research themes include: Structure and Dynamics of Complex Networks, Physics of Information and Novel Computation, Evolutionary Innovation and Biological Computation, and Individual Learning and Collective Cognition.


Patterns in Complex Systems:

Simple rules lead to unpredictable behavior; multi-component systems spontaneously organize into macroscopic structures. The emergence of chaos and order is the hallmark of natural and designed systems. The Complexity Sciences Center seeks to discover the common principles of emergence and use them to understand the physical, biological, and social worlds.

Teaching Complex Systems: The Center orchestrates a multidisciplinary teaching program for students in physics, mathematics, computer science, biology, and engineering. We are assembling a graduate specialization in the Physics of Complex Systems, currently including courses in the Physics of Information, Structure and Dynamics of Networks, Novel Computation, Computational Science Methods, Modeling Complex Systems, Nonlinear Dynamics, Statistical Physics, and Critical Phenomena and Scaling. Planned course topics include Cellular Automata, Pattern Formation and Self-Organization, Causal Inference, and Quantum Computational Mechanics.

Teach Depth, Research Breadth: The Complexity Sciences Center is creating a new kind of scientific research community within a university teaching environment. We emphasize transdisciplinary innovation and multidisciplinary collaboration in pursuit of common principles that arise in natural, built, and social systems.

Complexity Sciences Center

195 Physics

Physics Department

University of California at Davis




New Hydrophone Array Developed by UC Davis Physicist Enables 3D Recordings of Whale Songs for First Time

Kyle Ray receives UC Davis’ 2022-23 Summer Graduate Student Research Award

Momentum Computing Pushes Technology's Thermodynamic Limits Scientific American (28 March 2022).

Momentum Computing website. UC Davis Physics.

Information theory research helps explain how individuals interact in a collective

New Ways to Understand Collective Behavior


Army Awards $1.5M to Study Emergent Computation

Thermodynamic Computing with Information Engines:

   A special issue of the Journal of Statistical Physics

Project Disco: Python Delivers on Big Complex Unlabeled Data.

Crutchfield in SIAM News

D’Souza Lead Editor of new APS Physical Review Research

Crutchfield on the IAS workshop Beyond Shannon

Project Disco wins 2019 HPC Innovation Excellence Award:

      Adam Rupe, Jim Crutchfield and their team mates at LBNL and Intel Corp were awarded the high-performance computing award which “recognizes noteworthy achievements by users of high performance computing (HPC) technologies.”

    2019 HPC Innovation Excellence Awards

CSC in Science:

o Quanta: Scientists Discover Exotic New Patterns of Synchronization

o Wired: The Math of How Crickets, Starlings, and Neurons Sync Up

o Exotic states in a simple network of nanoelectromechanical oscillators (article)

o Fireflies, Heart Beats, and the Science of Sync (Caltech press)

o Exotic Synchronization Patterns Emerge in a Simple Network (UC Davis Press)

o The science of sync: New experiment shows emergent complexity from simple network (SFI press)

o Physicists discover surprisingly complex states emerging out of simple synchronized networks (

Old School + New School: Geometry, Physics & Machine Learning Take on Climate Research Data Challenges

Blog post: Thermodynamics of modularity

Classical irreversibility in a quantum world:

o Blog post: Reversing cause & effect no trouble quantum computers.

o New Scientist:

o Modelling data in reverse offers hints for how the arrow of time emerges:

Jim Crutchfield on Information Engines, interviewed on David Cornelison’s STEM Spots, (NPR); see Harnessing Chaos.

Jim Crutchfield on Demon Dynamics:

Artist-in-residence Meredith Tromble speaks about her CSC projects:

   Entangling Art & Biology

CSC is now an Intel® Parallel Computing Center, part of the LBNL NERSC Big Data Center. We’re working on unsupervised learning of coherent structures in climate. UC Davis News Summary.

AIP’s journal CHAOS highlights Crutchfield/Feldman’s 2003 “Regularities Unseen, Randomness Observed” as one of the 25 influential articles in the journal’s 25 year history.

$12.5M in grants for complexity, networks research (UCD article): CSC wins two Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives, greatly expanding its complex systems research. Also, see Funding.

Cina Aghamohammadi wins American-Iranian Physics Biruni Prize.

David Gier wins NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Dani Masante wins UC MEXUS Graduate Fellowship.

Charlie Brummitt wins Alice Leung Scholarship and McDonnell Complex Systems Fellowship.