research lines

The research at the Institute is structured along four major pillars. Together, they combine the exploration of new concepts in the field of Complex Systems and their application in different scientific and social disciplines.

Social Sciences

Applications in the social sciences range from aspects of the individual plan to the study of great sociopolitical and economic structures. One of the applications that we can already consider as a traditional complex system we find it in economy and finances. But the activities of the institute want to open other fields of applicability. For example, concepts such as coordination dynamics and other characteristics of networks are applied to the study of the behavior related to sports, both individually and at team level. Similarly, issues related to biological nature of the ability of human language, its development at individual level, its emergence in species, and its implementation at brain level. In the same way, the complex perspectives illuminate the dynamics more thoroughly sociocomunicative and sociopolitical influencing linguistic uses, change evolutionary of forms, and the linguistic maintenance and replacement phenomena. Inside its application to history, we highlight an innovative project on which based on data archaeological and with introduction of ideas and formalisms typical of complex networks, is studying the political and economic structure of the Roman Empire.

Psychology and Behaviour

Economy and Finance




An important part of the Institute’s researchers develop their own research in the identification and description of the general principles and the key mechanisms that govern complex systems. This includes, on the one hand, theoretical aspects within the framework of network theory, or in  modeling of basic agents that make up a system and the study of emerging behaviors through their interactions. On the other hand, the analysis of many complex systems often involve processing a large amount of information, which requires the continuous development of tools in the context of the so-called "Big Data", with a clear application in the context of the Institute, as it would be computing gastronomy. Finally, a large number of complex systems are characterized to be dynamic, that is, they evolve over time.

Problems that go from fluid dynamics, plasticity in neural networks or metabolic networks, up to the dynamics of social networks or their own biological evolution as a whole, they all require the development of common tools. This is a fundamental aspect that occupies a good part of the research activities of the members of the Institute. Not to mention, the field from which most of the physical researchers of the Institute, Statistical Physics, with fundamental problems still open.



Statistical Physics

Data Science and Artificial Intelligence

Dynamical Systems

Science of Matter

A great variety of material systems can be described as complex systems. Very diverse physical and chemical systems often require not linear science tools, such as formation of spatiotemporal patterns in fluids or chemical reactions, at the same time their growing complexity demands adapting or extending these tools to new situations. Among the outstanding complex materials, the concept of intelligent materials does reference to systems that change their properties or structure depending on the environment where they are, and that have a great technological and industrial interest.

Also, in materials’ field, we can highlight soft matter, which includes gels, polymers, colloids and other systems with a structure, on intermediate stairs that gives them special physical properties, high deformability and complex rheology. These materials are of great relevance in Biology, and at the same time, of a high technological interest mainly in the industry of food and cosmetics.

Finally, they also belong to the field of active matter those systems that operating far from the thermodynamic balance are composed of units which are self-propelled from the Conversion in movement of energy that stores or takes advantage of the environment in which they move. Interaction between these elements originates patterns of self-organization and Very characteristic flows, examples of which we find from the stools of birds, the bacterial suspensions or filamentous protein assemblies (tubes) and motors molecular (kinesines). These systems generate central conceptual issues when encountered intrinsically out of balance, opening a possibility of synthesizing new types of materials, and have a very close connection with biological systems.

Smart Materials

Soft Matter

Active Matter

  Active mater research line test

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Complex Fluids

Life Sciences

Biological systems, both for their intrinsic wealth and because of their importance, they receive special attention from the point of view of the study of complex systems. Much of the Institute's research activity is geared towards a great variety of problems in the biological context in all levels experimental, computational and theoretician. The research areas include the study of fundamental molecular mechanisms, genomics and proteomics, generation of forces and mechanics of cells and tissues, morphogenesis and development, biology of systems at the cellular level and neuroscience. In this case, the Institute has its own experimental laboratories. The associated studies at microorganisms and tissues have, from their fundamental perspective, a clear connection with the active materials that have begun to develop in recent years.

Systems Biology


Cell and Multicellular Biology

Molecular Biophysics