Complex Systems 2018

The New Forest Complex Systems Conference 2018


14 - 16 May 2018
New Forest, UK


Complex Systems 2018

The International Conference on Complex Systems took place in the New Forest National Park, home to the Wessex Institute. The Meeting was organised by that Institute and sponsored by WIT Transactions on Engineering Sciences and the International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics.

The conference brought together practitioners of many different disciplines interested in developing and discussing new applications for solving complex issues using multi-agent technology and similar distributed approaches.

Complex Systems occur in an infinite variety of problems, not only in the realm of physical sciences and engineering, but encompassing fields as diverse as economy, the environment, humanities, social and political sciences.

By now the conference is well established and is distinguished by its friendly and informal atmosphere in which it is easy for participants to help each other to further advance their appreciation of the subject of managing complexity.

Dr Stavros Syngellakis and Prof George Rzevski, both Directors of WIT, were the Co-chairmen of the meeting.

Opening of the Conference

In his opening address, George welcomed the delegates then paid tribute to Prof Carlos Brebbia and referred to the important role of their friendship in establishing this series of conferences. The aim has been to have a small group of delegates for a more effective exchange of ideas. Previous conferences have been particularly successful in applying complex systems thinking in various fields.

Stavros welcomed the delegates to the conference and referred to WIT’s important function of disseminating knowledge and acting as a forum for international collaboration. He explained how WIT is renowned throughout the world as a centre for innovative computer solutions, having developed its own technique (the Boundary Element Method) which is now widely used in engineering and sciences. The Institute is constantly applying its computer tools to a variety of new problems and it is this process of continuous evolution which is the main reason for the success of WIT’s work.

The conference programme as well as its cooperation with other institutions are sources of inspiration in this regard. Therefore, the Complex Systems meeting is essential to attain new ideas and for the Institute’s research to evolve.

Another important activity of WIT is the dissemination of knowledge through its WIT Press publishing arm. The aim is to disseminate the work as widely as possible. All conference and journal papers are now available Open Access in the WIT eLibrary at (, from where they can be downloaded. The papers presented at this conference, for instance, are published in the prestigious International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics, whose Honorary Editor is the late Ilya Prigogine, who is acknowledged as the originator of complexity theory.

The Institution, in conjunction with the University of Siena, launched an Award in Prigogine’s honour following his death in 2003. A medal is given annually to a renowned scientist whose work relates to the pioneering research of Prigogine.

Stavros ended his introductory remarks by thanking the delegates for participating in this important conference, and hoping that they will find the meeting useful and be able to make new contacts.

Keynote Address

George then delivered his keynote address entitled “Coevolution of technology, business and society”.

He reviewed social changes created during technological paradigm shifts in the past with a view to establishing patterns of changes that can help in forecasting the social change that are likely to follow the current technological revolution.

He explained that society invests into entrepreneurs and inventors who create new technology, which, in turn, induces structural changes into economy by creating demand for new jobs that require new skills, and in the process, destroying the old employment opportunities.

He emphasised the importance of digital technology in managing complex systems ending with an interesting paradox: complexity, caused by digital communication can be managed only by employing digital intelligence. In other words, digital technology is responsible for an issue, which can be resolved only by employing digital technology.

He concluded that, by understanding patterns of socio-economic changes that were caused by technological paradigm switches in the past, we can reasonably predict the impact of digital technology on business and society in the near future.

Invited Speakers

The meeting was enhanced by a series of invited presentations, as follows:

  • “On people and complexity in healthcare service supply”, by Brian White, Complexity Are Us, United States. The paper was presented by its co-author, Per Engelseth.
  • “Conceptual design of smart farming solution for precise agriculture”, by Per Engelseth, Molde University College, Norway.
  • “Toward the digital platform and smart services for managing space traffic, by Petr Skobelev, Samara State Technical University, Russia.
  • “The beauty of architectural complexity”, by Robert Barelkowski, West-Pomeranian University of Technology, Poland.
  • “A complexity framework for consensus and conflict”, by Peter Mitic, Santander UK, United Kingdom.

ISAC Dinner

A dinner for the International Scientific Advisory Committee was held at the Balmer Lawn Hotel, where the future of the conference was discussed, including possible topics and nominations for new members of the committee.


On the middle day an excursion was arranged to Beaulieu where the delegates had the opportunity to view the National Motor Museum and wander around the grounds, before being given a guided tour of Palace House.

Beaulieu’s National Motor Museum has over 250 vehicles, with the oldest dating back to 1875, and has one of the finest collections of cars, motorcycles and motoring memorabilia in the world. There is also a network of footpaths around the grounds, with beautiful nature walks and Victorian kitchen and flower gardens.

The delegates then made their way to Palace House, which has been the Montagu family home since 1538. It was remodelled and extended during the 1800s and is a fine example of a Victorian country house. Guides, dressed as Victorian household staff, led them on a tour of the building.

Conference Dinner

The conference dinner was held at the Cambium restaurant in Careys Manor Hotel, in the New Forest. Hand painted English trees adorn the walls, the chairs are upholstered in moss like fabric and bespoke oak leaf golden screens separate the diners. The delegates were offered traditional dishes, using local produce, and fine wines in a friendly and congenial atmosphere.

Panel Discussion

On the last day there was a panel discussion on the topic of “The impact of digital technology on business, society and politics”.

All delegates attending the last session of the conference were invited to participate in a very lively discussion on the scope of the subject matter, its relevance to the needs of a modern society, and how to widen its appeal among members of industry and academia.

Closing of the Conference

In his concluding remarks, George emphasised the importance of publicising the Complex Systems thinking and methodology as widely as possible in order to attract more participants to future conferences covering an even wider range of problems in all scientific fields. He praised very warmly the organisation of the conference and thanked the delegates for their contributions and active participation.

The conference was closed by Stavros, who also thanked the delegates for attending and hoped they would participate in other future WIT conferences.

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