XI Latin American Workshop on
Nonlinear Phenomena





Round-Table report 


"Complex Systems Studies in Latin America"

XI LAWNP-2009 (Oct. 05-09) Buzios-RJ, Brazil




Dr. Marcus A. M. de Aguiar (UNICAMP, Brazil)

Dr. Marcelo Kuperman (CAB, Argentina)

Dr. Gustavo Martinez-Mekler (ICFUNAM, Mexico)

Dr. Octavio Miramontes (IFUNAM, Mexico)

Dr. Constantino Tsallis (CBPF, Brazil)




Overview on the main points discussed and conclusions

This was a Round Table (RT) devoted to discuss the present and future of the Latin American Institutions addressing  complexity phenomena. The RT lasted around 1 hour with an ample audience among the participants of the LAWNP. In its intervention Dr. Tsallis narrated his experiences with the "Institute of Science and Technology for Complex Systems", a new Brazilian Network devoted to the study of complexity. It integrates the effort of around 18 Institutions from all Brazil and started at the end of 2008. Among others, topics of interest are complexity in biology and economics, signal and image processing and non-extensive statistical mechanics. The Institute is held at the CBPF in Rio de Janeiro and organizes several all-along-the-year activities such as research and seminars, supporting academic exchanges and fellowships.


Dr. Marcus de Aguiar mentioned several other initiatives in complexity studies in Brazil, giving as examples groups in Fortaleza, Maceio, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Sao Jose dos Campos, Curitba and Porto Alegre. He wondered whether all these groups are in contact with each other, collaborating scientifically.


Dr. Kuperman mentioned the Argentinian experience, recalling the existence of local groups rather than whole Institutes devoted to the study of complexity sciences. He described in detail the case of his particular group at the Centro Atomico Bariloche while mentioning that this Center offers postgraduate studies in complex systems, being involved in research topics such as biology, neurosciences, social dynamics, image processing, physical medicine and complex systems as such. Dr Kuperman also remarked that the Argentina Physical Society now officially recognizes the area of complex systems as an independent field in Physics.


Dr. Gustavo Martinez-Mekler described the Mexican experience on this topic. He mentioned that the study of complexity in Mexico goes back to the times when even the Santa Fe Institute was not existent, narrated the case of the Complexity Department within the Physics Institute at UNAM and also mentioned the official opening of the Centro de Ciencias de la Complejidad (C3) in Mexico City in 2008. The C3 is and inter-institutional effort of about 25 different University Institutions from about five different Mexican Universities.


After all these expositions, the discussion was open to the general audience, where many different opinions were brought about.


At the end of the conference, the conveyor (Dr. Octavio Miramontes) summarized several of the suggestions that emerged from the RT for increasing the collaboration among Latin American scientists in the study of complexity sciences. They are basically centered in three main ideas:


1) The creation of a Latin American Network of groups and Institutions operating in the region that should work as a “Catalog” for contacts. It was proposed that the WWW portal of this initiative could be hosted in Mexico at the C3.


2) A widening of areas and research subjects should be part of the scientific program in the future LAWNP's. Special emphasis could be made to include several topics of interest in interdisciplinary problems such as those associated to Biology.


3) The establishment of a Latin America School on Complex Systems, specially for the students from the region. The first event could be held at Rio de Janeiro either in 2011 or in 2012, as proposed by Dr. Tsallis.