I'm posting the Center for Complex Systems official brochure,
along with some personal comments at the end. If anybody wants
more details, I'll be glad to answer via email..
NIMH NATIONAL TRAINING
PROGRAM IN COMPLEX SYSTEMS
AND THE BRAIN SCIENCES
FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY
Scott Kelso, Director
The human brain possesses some 10^12 neurons and 10^15 neuronal
connections which generate complex patterns of behavior. The
interdisciplinary and emerging field of nonlinear dynamics offers new
strategies and paradigms for understanding complex systems such as the
human brain and its relation to behavior. For example, it now appears
that pattern formation and self-organization in nonequilibrium
physical, chemical and biological systems may be governed by a number
of general principles. This emphasis in the natural sciences on
structure formation in complex systems is bridging the gap between
what one element does and what many of them do when they function
cooperatively. The goal of neuroscience, since its early beginnings,
has been to do the same for neurons and neuronal groups. Neuroscience
must now be supplemented with new mathematical ideas, research
strategies and computational tools, if the inherent complexity of the
most complex system of all - the human brain and its relation to
behavior - are to be understood. The aim of this federally funded
training program is to create a new kind of `dynamical brain
scientist.' She/he will be a theoretically oriented, mathematically
sophisticated, computer-literate individual who will bring new ways of
thinking into the experimental arena. The Training Program stresses
the need for trainees to acquire research skills in specific
experimental systems in the brain and behavioral sciences systems
conjointly with developing theoretical concepts, tools and intuitions
within a specially tailored graduate program and post-doctoral
THE CENTER FOR COMPLEX SYSTEMS
At the Center for Complex Systems, the experimental study of
particular biological systems (at both behavioral and neural levels)
goes hand in hand with the elaboration of physically-founded
theories of pattern formation and self-organization in open,
nonequilibrium systems. The theory-experiment relation is being
established in various experimental systems, at various levels of
observation (e.g., neuronal, electromyographic, kinematic...), and
encompasses various behavioral functions. The physical, mathematical
and computational aspects of the program are aided by a formal
linkage between the Center and the Institute for Theoretical Physics
and Synergetics in Stuttgart directed by Professor Dr. H. Haken, who
co-directs the Center for Complex Systems at FAU.
The Ph.D. degree in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences is pending
approval. Currently, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. is awarded through
existing Departments (e.g. Psychology, Physics, Mathematics,
Electrical Engineering), and student admission also requires approval
by one of these Departments. Therefore, students interested in the
Ph.D. program should initially forward a letter of interest to:
Dr. Robert P. Vertes
Associate Program Director
Program in Complex Systems and the Brain Sciences
Florida Atlantic University
P.O. Box 3091
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Applications for admission will initially be evaluated by the
Training Program Admission Committee and then by an appropriate
Departmental Graduate Admission Committee. Programs of study have
been developed which will allow students to integrate courses in
Complex Systems and Brain Sciences with course requirements for
Departmental Ph.D. programs. Preparation for all incoming students
will be provided through a set of six core courses in mathematics,
neuroscience, and computer science. These courses will be taken
during the student's first year of study. In addition to the core
courses, students will be required to take further advanced courses
offered through the Center for Complex Systems and University
Departments. Workshop participation is also required.
There are three main research laboratories: The Human Brain and
Behavior Laboratory, the Neurosciences Laboratories and the
Laboratory for Experimental Mathematics. In addition, rather
extensive computational facilities (including DEC 3000, SGI
Workstations) are available. Students will have full access to
computational facilities at the Center for Complex Systems. Students
will be acquainted with the research being conducted in these
laboratories and depending on their interests will be assigned to a
laboratory shortly after arrival. However, students will have the
opportunity to rotate through a series of research laboratories
during their first two years in the program before selecting a thesis
advisor. Students are expected to be actively involved in research
during their entire five years in the program. As the course load
lightens time for independent research will increase. The students'
research will be developed through a close working relationship with
their thesis advisor, dissertation Committee, and regular contact
with the Program Director. In addition, a central focus of the
program is weekly seminars and informal lunch talks.
Every effort will be made to match the area of interest of the
incoming Post-doctoral trainees with the faculty member or laboratory
at FAU to which that trainee wishes to become attached. Post-doctoral
trainees at FAU will be allowed to audit any course in the Training
Program in order to supplement earlier graduate training.
Applications for admission will be evaluated by an admissions
committee formed from the faculty in the Program for Complex Systems
and Brain Sciences. Post-doctoral candidates should forward a copy of
their curriculum vita, four letters of recommendation and a letter
indicating their interests to the Program Director, Dr. J.A.S. Kelso.
Center for Complex Systems:
Introduction to Nonlinear Dynamics I and II
Computer Science Preparation for Complex Systems I and II
Neuroscience I and II
Pattern Formation in Neural and Behavioral Systems
Principles of Neural Growth and Development
Brainstem Mechanisms of Behavior
Principles of Neurobiological Signal Processing
Advanced Computer Graphics
Discrete Dynamical Systems
Topics on Non-Linear Dynamics
Numerical and Algebraic Methods in Complex Systems
Principles of Behavioral Neuroscience
Psychology of Language
Human Perceptual-Motor Behavior
Computability and Complexity
Adaptive Control Systems
Random Signals and Processes
Digital Image Processing
Mathematics and Physics:
Topics in Probability
Topics in Applied Mathematics
Continuous Mathematical Modeling
Listed below are the Primary Faculty at Florida Atlantic
University (and their research interests) who contribute to the
Program, although many faculty members from other
University Departments also participate in the Program:
Steven Bressler, Cognitive neuroscience; Investigation of
cognitive processing through analysis of brain electrical
Gonzalo de Guzman, Theoretical and experimental studies of
nonlinear dynamical systems.
Mingzhou Ding, Nonlinear dynamics and its application to
Hermann Haken, Synergetic principles in physical, chemical
and biological systems.
Howard Hock, Visual psychophysics: Perception of
movement, bistable apparent motion; visual pattern
J. A. Scott Kelso, Self-organization of brain and behavior;
perceptual-motor coordination and learning; dynamic pattern
Arnold J. Mandell, Chaotic dynamics of biological systems,
heart monitoring, brain protein synthesis, polypeptides.
Allan J. Nash, Electropsychophysiology: Attention and
event-related brain potentials.
Abhijit Pandya, Neural network models of visual processes.
Gary W. Perry, Molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating
neural development, growth, and regeneration.
Heinz-Otto Peitgen, Pattern formation; fractals; cellular
Lewis Shapiro, Lexical and sentence processing in
neurologically intact and impaired populations.
Betty Tuller, Speech production and perception: Patterns of
coordination among articulators.
Robert P. Vertes, Functional organization of the brainstem and
its control of forebrain function; Neurophysiology of sleep.
That's the end of the official brochure. Here are some additional
We are interdisciplinary; we have students in psychology,
comp.sci., math, neurobio., physics, etc.
The faculty has a diverse background as well:
The CCS is run by Scott Kelso - he does research in coordination of
Armin Fuchs from Haken's lab in Germany has been staying with us for
several years. We try to apply the principles of Synergetics (ala
Haken) to biological coordination, among other things.
We have Steve Bressler who worked with Freeman, and we've set up a 64
channel EEG system so we can measure EEG while the subjects are doing
coordination tasks, for example.
We also have folks doing stuff in speech perception and production, from
non-linear effects such as hysteresis in perception to coordination of
Some vision research, order to chaos transitions in Glass patterns for
Mingzhou Ding, one of Ott, Grebogi and Yorke's students.
John Merrill from Grossberg's lab is teaching a NN course. (NN in this
case means 'systems of ODEs that do neat stuff like STM and LTM').
Dr. H.-O. Peitgen splits his time between FAU and U. of Bremen.
He's part of the math dept.
The emphasis for all of this is on the non-linear dynamics of it all,
phase transitions in open, non-equilibrium systems, etc. as it applies
Betty Harvey can send you more information, her address is
harvey at walt.ccs.fau.edu.
Again, I'll be happy to answer questions by email.
Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences
Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431 USA
tomh at bambi.ccs.fau.edu