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Celebrate Mathematics by Unraveling Complex Systems

1 April 2011 2,030 views No Comment

How do epidemics spread, birds flock, and stock markets operate? Answers to these and many other such questions fall within the realm of mathematics.

From natural entities such as living cells, insect colonies, and whole ecosystems to man-made inventions like power grids, transportation networks, and the World Wide Web, one sees complex systems everywhere. Deciphering the mathematics behind such systems can unravel well-structured networks and discernible patterns in natural and artificial structures. That is the idea behind Mathematics Awareness Month this April.

In an effort to improve the understanding of such systems, the Joint Policy Board of Mathematics chose the theme “Unraveling Complex Systems” to highlight the role mathematics plays in them.

Understanding complex systems can help people manage and improve the reliability of such critical infrastructures of everyday life, as well as allow them to interpret, enhance, and better interact with natural systems. Mathematical models can delineate interactions among components of these systems, analyze their spontaneous and emergent behaviors, and help prevent undesirable developments while enhancing desirable traits during their adaptation and evolution.

Visit the Mathematics Awareness Month website to download a free poster and view activities and resources.

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