Complex Networks and Systems

Are you interested in exploring and understanding how the parts of a system interact with each other to drive the behavior of the system as a whole, in areas as diverse as social networks, the human brain, a language, power grids, financial markets, or gene regulatory networks? The complex networks and systems (CNS) track may be for you.

When you study CNS, you’ll explore new solutions for problems in computer science, physics, math, biology, health, and cognitive and social sciences. You might determine what makes a certain YouTube video go viral, examine Instagram data to discover adverse reactions caused by drug interactions, or develop a model that can accurately predict the spread of misinformation online.

The complex networks and systems track includes:

Learn about related research

Training in this track is consolidated and enhanced by the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research ( CNetS) and the Center for Social and Biomedical Complexity ( CSBC).

Track Guide

Primary Track Faculty

Profile picture for Johan Bollen

: Track Director

Computational social science, social media analytics, informetrics, and digital libraries. Meme diffusion, markets and sentiment, metrics from usage data, science of science.

Profile picture for Yong-Yeol Ahn

Structure and dynamics of complex systems, such as society and living organisms, using massive datasets.  Hierarchical & modular structure in social and biological networks, the analysis of metabolic networks, and the social media.

Profile picture for Randall Beer

Cognitive science, computational and theoretical biology. Understanding how coordinated behavior arises from the dynamical interaction of an animal’s nervous system, its body and its environment. Evolution and analysis of dynamical “nervous systems” for model agents, neuromechanical modeling of animals, biologically-inspired robotics, and dynamical systems approaches to behavior and cognition.

Profile picture for Ying Ding

Data-Driven Science of Science, Bibliometrics, Semantic Web, Data-Driven Knowledge Discovery, AI powered Drug Discovery, Knowledge Graph and Mining.

Profile picture for Alessandro Flammini

Information and Transportation Networks. City settlement activity, Information Creation and Consumption, Online Traffic, Protein Interaction Networks.

Profile picture for Santo Fortunato

Statistical physics of social dynamics, Community structure in complex networks, Science of Science.

Profile picture for Eduardo Izquierdo

Neural basis of behavior, Embodied Cognition, Computational Neuroscience, Evolutionary Robotics, Artificial Life, Complex Systems.

Profile picture for Filippo Menczer

Web science, social media, social networks, social computing, Web search and data mining, distributed and intelligent Web applications, and modeling of complex information networks.

Profile picture for Staša Milojević

Dynamics of science as a social and an intellectual (cognitive), science, technology, and society (STS), science of science, information science, network science, economics, sociology, philosophy, history.

Profile picture for Filippo Radicchi

Complex Networks and Systems, Data Science, Science of Science, Sport Analytics.


Required Courses

A student must successfully complete ninety (90) credit hours of graduate-level course work. The specific track requirements are listed below.

  • Informatics Core Requirements (6 cr.)
    • INFO I501 Introduction to Informatics (3 cr.)
    • INFO I502 Human-Centered Research Methods in Informatics (3 cr.)
  • Complex Systems & Networks Core Requirements (6 cr.)
    • INFO I601 Introduction to Complex Systems (3 cr.)
    • INFO I606 Network Science (3 cr.)
  • Seminar Requirements (6 cr.)
    • INFO I609 Seminar I in Informatics: Complex Systems (3 cr.)
    • INFO I709 Seminar II in Inforamtics: Complex Systems (3 cr.)

NOTE: A student must take I609 and/or I709.

  • Research Rotation Requirement (6 cr.)
    • INFO I790 Informatics Research Rotation (3 cr.)

NOTE: A student must complete two rotations of I790. A third rotation will not count for course credit.

  • Theory and Methodology Requirement (12 cr.)

NOTE: These courses must be appropriate for a Ph.D. in Informatics.

  • Minor (6-15 cr.)

NOTE: A student must complete an internal or external minor approved by the University Graduate School and the School. If a student selects an individualized minor, prior to taking courses, the University Graduate School must approve the proposed minor course list. There is no typical minor; however, students in the Complex Systems & Networks track often pursue a minor in Biology, Computer Science, or Statistics.

  • Electives (12-30 cr.)

NOTE: A student must have all electives approved by the student's advisor and the Director of Informatics Graduate Studies prior to enrolling in the course.

  • Thesis Reading and Research (minimum of 21 cr. and a maximum of 30 cr.)
    • INFO I890 Thesis Readings and Research

Optional Courses

  • INFO I585 Biologically-inspired Computing
  • INFO I590 Topics in Informatics
  • CSCI B657 Computer Vision
  • COGS Q580 Introduction to Dynamical Systems in Cognitive Science