This project (2020-1-SE01-KA203-077872) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Complex Systems Investigations and Complex Biological Systems

Università degli Studi di Perugia
Thematic Area
Natural Sciences
Factual description
I analyzed the courses of Prog Pier Luigi Gentili at Perugia University: “Complex Systems Investigations” for the Master Degree in Chemical Science, and “Complex Biological Systems” for the Master Degree in Molecular and Industrial Biotechnology because In both the courses a relevant goal is to present the features of Complex Systems, their behavior and hence the use of Systems Thinking.
As examples of Complex Systems are reported living beings (both unicellular and pluricellular ones), the human brain and immune system, the human societies, the world economy, the ecosystems, and the climate. For all of them there is the impossibility to be exhaustively described by science and to predict their behavior especially in the long term. In particular the main difficulties are found in : (1) Describing and recognizing variable patterns that Complex Systems have. (2) Solving computational problems that are exponential (or NP) and have large dimensions. (3) Predicting the dynamics of Complex Systems when they work in the chaotic regime.
Prof. Gentili in particular highlight the following features shared by all the Complex Systems mentioned in his courses: (1) Complex Systems can be described as networks. (2) They are out-of-equilibrium thermodynamic systems. (3) Complex Systems exhibit emergent properties, such as self-organization and chaos.
Complexity Science is presented, starting from its historical contextualization, as an ongoing process in the Sciences evolution that involve a productive interdisciplinary dialogue among specialists of different disciplines, in particular using the theories of (1) out-of-equilibrium thermodynamics; (2) non-linear dynamics, (3) network science; (4) natural Computing.
These courses can be considered multi-disciplinary because deal with subjects regarding chemistry, physics, biology, economy, geology, at the same time they are also interdisciplinary because the common points among different disciplines are constantly highlited. Even if Ethical issues are not included in the syllabi of these courses during my lessons some ethical considerations regarding the relationships between science-technology and the world we inherit.
Relevance in complex systems
Complex Systems are the main topics of both these courses
Strong points
The courses are specifically designed for the understanding of what Complex Systems are through the use of the System thinking approach, with the target to deliver to the students the necessary basic knowledge to face any global challenge
Transferability potential
The use of the interdisciplinary approach to teach Complex Systems based on Thermodynamics as a methodological systemic approach.