The University of Southampton

New Institute for Complex Systems Simulation launches this month

Published: 11 March 2009

A new institute that will generate a community of researchers prepared to tackle some of the most pressing scientific and engineering challenges of the 21st century will be launched this month.

The Institute for Complex Systems Simulation (ICSS) will launch on Wednesday 18 March at an event that will attract academics, industrialists and students.

The Institute spans a range of science and engineering Schools within the University and involves over 20 industrial and governmental partners. According to Dr Seth Bullock of ECS, Professor Jonathan Essex, and Dr Hans Fangohr, the Institute’s Directors, it will equip its graduates to carry out high-quality, sophisticated simulations in the context of live research challenges. Doctoral students will be trained to combine complex systems ideas with powerful computational tools in order to address challenges within key application domains spanning climate, pharma, biosciences, nanoscience, medical and chemical systems, transport, the environment, engineering and computing.

'We will shortly be seeing, or in some cases are already beginning to see, simulation modelling used to drive the design of new drugs tested on simulated organisms, to shape our response to climate change, to redesign our transport systems, and even to inform exit strategies from wars. The quality of these simulations is becoming crucial,' said Dr Bullock.

'At the moment, when the systems being modelled are increasingly complex, it is hard to know whether to trust some of the simulations that are being built. The ready availability of cheap computational power and the ease with which simulations can be constructed means that we will be seeing more and more of them. Over the next decade, our Institute will help create a generation of doctoral graduates equipped to act as research leaders in building and deploying credible complex systems simulation across a range of disciplines, from nanomachines to global ocean systems.’

The Science Minister, Lord Drayson, on a visit to the University last week also endorsed the Institute: 'Science will help us deal with some of the key challenges we face as a nation and a world,' he said. 'This is a great example of UK research helping to do just that in areas such as climate change, transport and drug design.’

The launch event will be held from 12.30-4pm at the University of Southampton's Nightingale Lecture Theatre (B67, 1027).

To register attendance, please contact: Dr Seth Bullock, Director of ICSS, Tel: 023 8059 5776, email:

The £12m Institute is jointly funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the University of Southampton and its partners.

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.023 8059 5453.

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