Introduction

Year 2004 marks for the Laboratory of Computational Engineering (LCE) & Research Centre for Computational Science and Engineering (CCSE) the fifth year as a national Centre of Excellence with truly international staff of about 80 members and of 10 different nationalities. The CCSE operates an affiliate research unit called Advanced Computational Science and Engineering (ACSE) inWolfson College of Oxford University with the state of the art clustercomputing facilities and two full time researchers. For the purpose of international researcher training and collaborationACSE provides every year 2- 4 months visits for two to four visiting scholars from CCSE to interact and network with various Oxford scientists in the fields of Neurocognitive Science, Information Engineering, Materials Science, Mathematical Biology and Theoretical Physics. Over the three year period, with more than a dozen CCSE researchers visiting Oxford, ACSE activity has fulfilled its purpose excellently. The research in LCE, CCSE and ACSE is multidisciplinary in nature and has till recently been carried out in three mutually supportive fields: Computational information technology, Computational materials research, and Cognitive science and technology. In 2004 these activities have borne a lot of fruit: over 100 scientific publications of which about 60 in high impact factor journals, and five PhDs of which three women.

Over the recent years, research in general has been experiencing paradigm change such that many well-established disciplines have together generated new research disciplines. This change can be characterized as follows: i) focus of research lies on understanding the properties of living systems at several scales, ranging from the complex biological machinery inside living cells to networks of social interactions between humans, and ultimately to the whole ecosystem itself, ii) the viewpoint is becoming increasingly holistic, with focus on systemlevel behaviour instead of detailed characterization of the constituents, and iii) research is becoming increasingly multidisciplinary, partially because there is a direct need for combining knowledge and methods from various fields of research, but also because seemingly unrelated systems often share similar characteristics and can be treated within similar theoretical frameworks. These systems are called complex systems because complex, non-linear system-level behaviour can emerge in a non-trivial fashion from the rules which govern the individual interacting and simple elements. Hence, the systems have to be analyzed from several viewpoints and at several levels. This emphasises the role of computational approach in their study involving, on one hand, large-scale numerical simulations in combination with analytical treatment using related mathematical methodology, and, on the other hand, the analysis and interpretation of experimental data obtained from measurements.

In recognition of this paradigm shift LCE, CCSE and ACSE is adopting as its new research mission Complex Systems Research, which consists of four focus areas: 1. Models & Methods, including activities Complex networks and Agent- based models, Pattern formation in biological systems, Statistical and information theoretic modelling methods, and Brain signal analysis; 2. Engineered and Artificial Systems, including Engineered nanosystems and Modelling of learning and perception; 3. Cognitive & Social Systems, including Cognitive systems and Structure and dynamics of social network; 4. Computational Systems Biology, including Biomolecular modelling, Bioimaging, and Biospectroscopy.

Kimmo Kaski
Academy professor


www@lce.hut.fi