Is the Future Deterministic? Flux and Unpredictability in Cascade Evolution
24 September 2010
Institute of Advanced Study, Cosin's Hall, Palace Green
We often sense uncertainty in a complex world of cascading events from unexpected, seemingly minor, causes - from the financial crisis of 2008 to the rapid rise and fall of political figures, pop stars, and even cities. New phrases like "tipping point", "avalanche" or "gaining traction" are everywhere, as if such cascades contradict common expectations of evolution, where the "best" ideas and organisations ought to rise to prominence and stay there. Unpredictability and flux were always the essence of Darwin's evolution, however. "Which groups will ultimately prevail," Darwin wrote, "no man can predict; for we well know that many groups, formerly most extensively developed, have now become extinct.." Though Darwin was arguably a gradualist, this workshop explores first the evolutionary tools for understanding flux and uncertainty in cascading events, as well as particularly revealing case studies from the history of technology, commerce, and urban development.
Unpredictability and cascades: case studies
09.00: Alex Bentley, Durham University and Mike O'Brien, University of Missouri
09.30: Chris Venditti University of Reading
10.00: Pierpaolo Andriani, Durham Business School
Flux and fat tails
11.00: Mike Batty, CASA, University College London
11.30: Stefan Thurner, Section for Science of Complex Systems, Medical University of Vienna
12.00: Renaud Lambiotte, Imperial College London
12.30-13.25: Buffet lunch
What is predictable?
13.30: Paul Ormerod, Volterra Consulting and Durham University
14.00: David Robertson, Manchester University
This workshop is free and open to all academic staff and research postgraduate students.