University of Vermont

College of
Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Complex Systems Analysis at CEMS

Environmental Systems

Meeting the needs of a growing world population in an environmentally sustainable way is a major challenge of the 21st century. As human societies have developed, the economic gains achieved with advanced technology have had negative impacts on the environment since they utilize valuable land resources, alter ecological networks, and produce pollution in the air and water.

However, compatibility with the environment can be achieved when development is designed to minimize negative environmental impacts. Such interconnections and feedbacks can be efficiently analyzed using complex systems analysis tools. Also, interdisciplinary studies of global environmental change from both scientific and policy perspectives can provide a scientific basis for informed decision making at local, state, national and global levels.

CEMS research in this area includes:

Biological Systems

Biological processes span from the molecular to population levels. Complex systems analysis and modeling allows integration of our understanding of these different levels and provides insight into the complexities of biological processes.

A fusion of engineering and the life sciences promises new discoveries and technologies to improve human health and the environment. Furthermore, mathematicians and computer scientists continue to draw inspiration from biological processes in designing new mathematical and computational approaches to solving difficult engineering problems in a variety of domains.

CEMS research in this area includes:

Transportation Systems

Transportation systems exhibit almost all the characteristics of a complex system. The behavior of a transportation system is the result of millions of decisions made by individual travelers, local and state agencies, shipping companies, politicians and so on. The interactions among these individuals and the physical system are often non-linear and the outcome is inherently very difficult to predict. By applying complex systems analysis concepts and tools, critical transportation systems problems can be addressed, such as efficiency, safety and environmental compatibility.

Examples of CEMS research in this area include:

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