Complexity Science and Design
The Complexity Science and Design research group works in a variety of themes:
Applications of complexity science in design theory, methods and practice
Identifying, measuring and managing complexity of design processes, products, and organisations
Empirical and computational studies of design thinking (including neuropsychology of design cognition)
Designing complex artefacts (from buildings to cities)
Simulation, modelling and design of very large socio-technical systems
Design of autonomous machine systems, including cooperating and swarm robots; education and entertainment robotics
Kinematic design of dextrous and agile robotic systems
Machine vision and intelligent geometry; pattern recognition; computer vision
Please scroll down to the research area that particularly interests you. Further details are provided in the links to individual researchers. For list of PhD students in this research group see: complexity and design phd research projects
1. Complexity science, society and technology
The complexity and design group has been leading a variety of projects aiming to coordinate research in complexity science across Europe and the World, with an emphasis on future technologies and on cultivating engagement with societal issues, sustainability, education and policy making.
This work includes: coordinating private and public sector users of complex systems science at national and international levels; delivering a core curriculum of high quality education in mathematics, physics, computing and simulation, and providing an excellent web-based source of information on complexity science for the public, policy makers, business people, and scientists.
Recent research projects and outputs:
Etoile: Enhanced Technologies for Open Intelligent Learning Environments.
A European coordination action aiming to revolutionise education through the use of intelligent technology: http://www.etoilecascadesideas.eu/
ASSYST: Action for the Science of Complex Systems and Socially Intelligent ICT.
A coordination action funded by EU aiming to coordinate and support research on complex systems, make connections with scientists and the public and private sectors, and promote education: http://www.assystcomplexity.eu/
Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems
The group is running a number of seminars and workshops aiming to promote new mathematical research and support mathematics education.
ONCE-CS: Open Network of Centres of Excellence in Complex Systems
A coordination action funded by the European Commission under FP6. The
purpose of ONCE-CS was to strengthen European research in complex systems, and
to assist people in business and public services to use the new science
effectively. The project provided a platform for the creation and development
of the Complex Systems Society: http://css.csregistry.org/tiki-index.php
IGC: Intelligent Geometry Compressor
Significant improvements are sought in the operation of axial compressors, used for example in jet engines, whereby control of individual stator blade settings with changing aerodynamic conditions could be achievable in realtime. This would result in more efficient operation, with potential for fuel saving and noise reduction. It is proposed that the complexity of high-speed dynamic control be enabled using autonomous intelligent agents.
2. Complexity in design thinking, processes and artefacts
Product designers, architects, engineers, urban designers, policy makers – in fact, designers from all fields – increasingly use the word ‘complexity’ to characterise both the design activity and its outputs. In all different domains, the ‘complexity’ of design thinking, processes, outputs and organizations is one of the biggest challenges for designers today but also an intrinsic characteristic of design activity. The group undertakes multidisciplinary research combining methods and knowledge from complexity science as well as fields such as psychology, mathematics, social science, art and computing in order to examine the phenomenon of complexity and reveal some profound implications for design and designing today.
We have an international standing established through publication, dissemination and outreach, in areas such as artificial intelligence for design generation, adaptive architecture, autonomous machine systems, empirical and mathematical studies of coordination and phase transitions in design processes and teams, methods for managing complexity, multi-level network analysis of organizations and artefacts (from small objects to cities), computer simulations of design processes (focussing on creativity and collaboration) and studies on the interface between space and human behaviour. We lead an innovative research project using advanced brain imaging techniques to explore design cognition in collaboration with partners from cognitive neuroscience in Goldsmiths College and University College London doi:10.1016/j.destud.2009.05.002. Finally, we have been engaging with the art and design community in various ways including the organisation of workshops and exhibitions.
Recent projects and outputs:
The role of complexity in the creative economies: connecting people, ideas and practice
A new research project in collaboration with Kent University and Birmingham funded by AHRC under the Connected Communities programme. The aim of the project is to explore how complexity theory and its methodological approaches can help in providing a better understanding of the creative economy as a field of research. For more details see: http://www.complexity-creative-economy.net
Embracing Complexity in Design I & II
A research project funded jointly by AHRC and EPSRC under the Designing for the 21st Century Initiative (http://design.open.ac.uk/ecidII/index.html). The project fostered the development of a community of people working at the interface between design and complexity science. Its work culminated in a book
outlining state-of-the-art developments by focussing on a variety of different themes and domains, including architecture, engineering, environmental design, art, fashion and management: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415497008/
3. Robot Kinematic Design and Robot Applications
New research into the kinematic structure of autonomous robotic systems offers the potential to develop fresh insights and new tools and techniques for designing mechanical architectures with improved robustness for future autonomous system development.
Commissioning and installing new Facility for Robotic Autonomous Systems (FRAS) laboratory
Developing designs for serial and parallel robot systems
Page Last Updated: 3 February 2011