Energy and Complexity Nexus

Faculteit Science and Engineering
Jaar 2021/22
Vakcode WMEE012-05
Vaknaam Energy and Complexity Nexus
Niveau(s) master
Voertaal Engels
Periode semester II b

Uitgebreide vaknaam Energy and Complexity Nexus
Leerdoelen At the end of the course, the student is able to:
1) Understand the concepts of complexity and energetics and their relationship through scales
2) Memorize the order of magnitude (scale) of major natural and antropic energy processes
3) Identify a system as a network
4) Build a network and perform a basic network analysis
5) Distinguish between spatial and topological properties of networks
6) Use multi-network (multiplex) analysis to assess the nexus between different flows
Omschrijving Energetics is the study of energy under transformation, at different spatial and time scales.Complexity is the domain of systems between the infinitely small (particles) and the infinitely large (stars), but also an approach to human made or natural systems which is not reductionist, nor mechanistic. This is a course on the energetics of complex systems aimed at providing students with an insight on the nexus between complexity and energy, with a focus on the paradigm of network theory. The main question it will address is: what are complexity and energetics and how the two concepts can be combined to analyze, theoretically and empirically, common evolutionary patterns and structures in society and nature. The first part of the course will overview theories and models in the field on complex system theory and energetics with the aim of understanding the fil rouge connecting living and human made systems. The second part will focus on complex systems analysis, with theoretical and practical lectures (computer lab), analyzing metrics and models of major interest to energy and environmental studies. During the course students with different backgrounds will be compelled to confront with paradigms alien to their main field of studies and cooperate with their peers in order to bridge the gap.
Uren per week
Onderwijsvorm Hoorcollege (LC), Opdracht (ASM), Practisch werk (PRC)
(Lectures (28h, theoretical lectures), Assignment (10 h, Couple's assignment), Practical (18 h, practicals on networks), self-study (82 h).)
Toetsvorm Mondeling tentamen (OR), Opdracht (AST), Schriftelijk tentamen (WE), Verslag (R)
(Final mark: Written exam (30%, each student will receive a set of matrices and three problems concerning the part of the course on networks to be solved in a due amount of time), oral exam (30%, an oral exam consisting of three questions covering the part of the course concerning complexity and energetics), assignment (including report) (40%, a group of 2 students will choose a set of data at their preference to perform an original network analysis. The work output will be in an electronic format and a report analysing results).)
Vaksoort master
Coördinator F. Ruzzenenti, PhD.
Docent(en) F. Ruzzenenti, PhD.
Verplichte literatuur
Titel Auteur ISBN Prijs
Energy in nature and society: general energetics of complex systems. MIT
press, 2008 2008
Vaclav Smil 978-0-262-69356-9
Maximum-Entropy Networks: Pattern Detection, Network Reconstruction and
Graph Combinatorics. Springer 2017
Squartini, T. and Garlaschelli, D 978-3-319-69438
Entreevoorwaarden Prior knowledge: No specific prerequisites are required.
Maximum capacity: 25 students.
The course unit prepares for master's projects in the second year.
Opmerkingen Pass mark: >5.5
Assignment/Report (40%), oral exam (30%) and written exam (30%).
At the end of week 10 student in groups of two will hand in a report showing they are able to perform an network analysis on original data (assignment, 40%, pass mark: 5.5)
Final exam will be in two parts: written and oral (pass mark: 5.5):
1, written exam: three problems to be solved with Matlab/R
2, oral exam: three questions.

In case the assessment has to take place online, the written and oral exam will be adjusted to an online written respectively an online oral exam from home.

Second examiner for this course is prof. dr. K.S. Hubacek.

This course was registered last year with course code WMEE18002
Opgenomen in
Opleiding Jaar Periode Type
MSc Courses for Exchange Students: Astronomy - Physics - Energy & Environment - semester II b
MSc Energy and Environmental Sciences  (Electives) 1 semester II b keuze