Complexity Conference: Hidden Connections
(3 to 5 March 2014)
Complexity is many things to many people: a synonym for what is not understood, an expression of deep intellectual insight, or the promise of solutions to the big problems of our world. In the world of science, complexity typically refers to problems that require us to deal with a sizable number of factors, which are interrelated in an organic whole.
Complexity has been around since the big bang. So has emergence, the phenomenon that systems behave in ways that cannot be explained by the analysis of its components. Biological and social systems emerged out of dynamic interactions, as did the evolution of language, conflicts and the influence of men on the livability of his world.
The impact of science is determined by the problems it manages to solve. Until a few decades ago, science had no ways to solve complex problems. Interdisciplinary science and high-speed computing has started to change that. Yet most complex problems are still beyond the reach of science, as they may always be. Contrary to reductionist sciences that have become the exclusive domain of specialists organized in ever narrower disciplines, the future of complexity science lies in its connectivity with the real world and its capability to solve the problems the world poses to it.
"Hidden Connections" somehow seems to capture the essence of complexity as well as the intuitive sense that we need to understand such connections in order to solve such problems. It also hints at the excitement of finding connections between systems or problems that were previously considered to exist in isolation. This conference will touch on all these aspects and show that they too are connected.
The conference will have twelve distinguished speakers, including Nobel Laureate Prof Arieh Warshel who will be appointed as a Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Professor.
Professor Arieh Warshel (Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 2013) is an Israeli-American Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Southern California. He is known for his work on computational biochemistry and biophysics, in particular for pioneering computer simulations of the functions of biological systems, and for developing what is known today as Computational Enzymology.
Professor Warshel has authored over 390 peer-reviewed research articles, as well as a 1991 book entitled “Computer Modeling of Chemical Reactions in Enzymes and Solutions”. He also co-developed key computer programs for molecular simulations, which are now being widely used in different incarnations.
He was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Professors Michael Levitt and Martin Karplus for "the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems".