New video released by students of the Social Insect Research Group (SIRG) (3/5/2014)

A group of graduates students in the social insect research group have produced and released an amazing video covering highlights of social insect research at ASU. Elizabeth Cash performed the intricate editing. The video can be viewed online here. For more information about the SIRG group visit their facebook site.

Michael Barton (SHESC) wins multi-national research award (12/8/2013)

A multi-national team has been awarded a new grant from the international Digging Into Data program, a joint Canadian-US-Netherlands-UK program. The grant funds the development of tools for analysis of large, complex data sets produced by computational models. While Dawn Parker (U Waterloo, Canada) is the overall lead, CSDC director Michael Barton is the US/NSF PI. The CSDC's contribution involves CoMSES Net and includes funding for a postdoc for a year ($125,000 from NSF).

Paul Cassell to host one of the first workshops at ASU on complexity and religion (9/26/2013)

CSDC faculty member Paul Cassell (Center for Jewish Studies) will be hosting a public workshop on "Religion, Science, and Sociality: Emergence Theory and Religion" October 6-7 at the University Club. This represents one of the first endeavors for CSDC faculty to explore the emergence and dynamics of religions. Detailed information can be found here.

Shade Shutters part of winning "sandpit" team (8/14/2013)

The CSDC's Shade Shutters was part of the winning team at a recent Walton Sustainable Solutions Inititative "sandpit" on the topic, Creating the City of the Future. The team included other ASU faculty, government officials from Arizona cities, and consultants from the private sector. The team was awarded $500,000 to pursue a project on their idea of understanding and modeling intercity conflict, with Shutters acting as interim PI.

CSDC helps launch new organization for students of complexity (1/16/2013)

Under faculty advisors Ted Pavlic and Shade Shutters, the Interdisciplinary Complexity Science Student Organization (ICSSO) was recently registered as an official student organization on ASU's Tempe campus. Under fouding officers Tim Dennehy (SHESC), Zack Schaffer (SoLS), and Wendy Cegielski (SHESC), the group hopes to promote dialog among students of all disciplines who are working with complex systems. For more information see the ICSSO's facebook page.

CSDC wins CLAS seed funding award (12/12/2012)

With much help from Mira Mihajlovich, a team from the CSDC has won almost $50,000 in internal seed funds from competitive CLAS program. The proposal, authored by Manfred Laubichler, Michael Barton, and Shade Shutters, was titled "Phase transitions and allometry in social systems." Funds will be used to develop large-scale proposals for expected calls in 2013 from the NiH and NSF.

Nia Amazeen (Psychology) joins the CSDC Executive Board (12/20/2011)

Nia joins the CSDC Executive Board replacing Steven Neuberg, also of the Psychology department, thereby completing the carefully designed balance of the social and natural sciences that is the hallmark of the CSDC. Other members of the Board include Dieter Armbruster (Mathematics), Michael Barton (SHESC), Jennifer Fewell (SoLS), William Griffin (SSFD) and Manfred Laubichler (SoLS). A special "thank you" to Steve for his many contributions to the creation and development of the CSDC over these last 5 years.

CSDC Director Manfred Laubichler named Associate Director of the Origins Project (11/23/2011)

As the new Associate Director, Manfred will contribute to ongoing strategic planning and operations, spearhead workshops dealing with complexity and adaptive systems, and assist in the development of the emerging Origins Project curriculum. For more on Manfred's work leading to this new appointment, see

CSDC Director Michael Barton publishes important research using computational modeling to suggest a link between early human response to global climate change and extinction of the Neanderthals (11/21/2011)

Research by Michael Barton, Director of the CSDC and colleagues at ASU and the U of Colorado Denver gives new insights on the extinction of the Neanderthals. In a recent paper (“Modeling Human Ecodynamics and Biocultural Interactions in the Late Pleistocene of Western Eurasia”) published in the December issue of the journal of Human Ecology, Barton along with co-authors Marty Andries (SHESC/SOS) and Gabriel Popescu (SHESC grad student) and Julien Riel-Salvatore (SHESC PhD now at U Colorado Denver) report that their research using computational modeling suggests a link between global climate change and the extinction of the Neanderthals. Their work incorporates feedback across three evolutionary systems: biological, cultural and environmental. One result of this research questions the long-held view that Neanderthals went extinct because they were not as "advanced" as other early humans. Rather, they were as behaviorally sophisticated as modern humans, readily adapting to changes in the environment. This led to migrations and eventual intermingling with other early human groups. As a result, the physical distinctions that marked the Neanderthals were "bred" out of existence. Read more at:

To see the model:

Arizona Board of Regents and ASU Provost Office Approve Continuance of the CSDC for 5 more years (11-1-2011)

The Arizona Board of Regents requires that every center and institute undergo a substantive review every five years. The purpose of the review is to assess the unit’s viability, quality, and progress. The review is also designed to facilitate strategic planning. In October of 2011, the CSDC submitted a detailed self-report summarizing the center's activities and its impact on the research and scholarly development of complexity science. Based on this review, ABOR, the Provost's Office and Graduate College have agreed to contiuance of the center without conditions for another five years. Thanks to all the faculty, researchers, graduate students and staff who have contributed to the success of the CSDC. We are looking forward to five more years of service to ASU and complexity science worldwide.

Download CSDC 5-Year Review Report

Bert Hölldobler Awarded Cothenius Medal for Lifetime Achievement (10/6/2011)

The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina honored Arizona State University Foundation Professor Bert Hölldobler and two others with Cothenius Medals as part of the opening ceremonies of the Leopoldina’s Annual Assembly on Sept. 23, in Germany. Bert is a founding father of the CSDC and member of the Advisory Board.

Bert is an internationally-recognized behavioral scientist and evolutionary biologist, who revolutionized understanding about social organization in insects. Richly deserving the Cothenius Medal for lifetime achievement, he has advanced new discoveries about chemical communication and orientation behavior in animals, the dynamics of social organizations and the evolution of animal communities.

Bert came to ASU in 2004, following professorships with University of Frankfurt, Harvard University, Cornell University and University of Würzburg, Germany. In ASU's School of Life Sciences he has built dynamic partnerships and helped to develop the social insect research group (SIRG), with Robert Page, vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and founding director of the School of Life Sciences. This creative collective of 10 faculty members, most of whom are CSDC Core Faculty, studies bees, ants, termites and wasps with focus on neuroscience, biomedicine and sociobiology; genetics and epigenetics; complex adaptive systems and robotics. (Full Story)

CoMSES Net Announces CoMSES Challenge 2012

The Network for Computational Modeling for SocioEcological Science (CoMSES Net) is a scientific research coordination network to support and expand the development and use of computational modeling in the social and life sciences. The National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsors CoMSES Net through a grant to Michael Barton and Marco Janssen through the CSDC. CoMSES Net brings together social and natural scientists using advanced modeling to study coupled natural and human, or ‘socioecological’ systems (SES).

The ComSES Challenge 2012 – Models for Sustainability.

The challenge is to develop an agent-based model that can be used to teach concepts of sustainability at the high school level. The author(s) of the winning entry will receive a cash prize of 1000 Euro. The models will be evaluated by high school students as well as a jury of scholars. The deadline for submissions is April 2, 2012. Full details of the ComSES Challenge 2012 can be found at