WelcomeDesign is the creation of artificial systems in the sense of Herbert Simon's 1969 book The Sciences of the Artificial. Traditional engineering designs and constructs artificial physical systems based on the fundamental natural sciences of physics, chemistry and biology and creates new artificial sciences such as aeronautics, pharmaceutics, and computing. The application of this knowledge to create artificial systems is called design and finds expression in architecture, interior design, textiles and fashion design, electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical engineering and mechatronics, aerospace design, automobile design, city planning.
Some designed system are complicated with many intricate parts working together in unison, such as clocks and Fabergé eggs. Such systems do not have the hallmark features of complexity that make the behaviour of systems difficult to anticipate. These include their dynamics emerging from the interaction of many heterogeneous parts at many structural levels, their behaviour being sensitive to initial conditions, and the possibility of systems autonomously self-organising and reconfiguring themselves to form new systems with different properties. Apart from the simplest cases, complexity and design are inseparable:
- Many designed systems are complex, e.g. cities, internet applications,
- Design processes can be complex, e.g. supply chains, factories, clients' requirements
- The context of design is complex: e.g. fashion, finance, regulation, changing requirements
- Design is a complex cognitive social process, e.g. analysis, generation &
Professional designers are masters of complexity. They create systems that did not previously exist, creating new knowledge about those systems. They deal with clients who don't know what they want or what is possible within their constraints. They know about system parts and the processes that can assemble parts to form new wholes with desirable emergent properties. They know about regulations and deal with regulators and authorities. They forecast and manage costs in the face of great uncertainty.
Complex Systems Science is concerned with the reconstruction of the dynamics of observed systems from data. It mostly deals with systems whose behaviour is unpredictable or poorly understood. For example earthquakes, market crashes, traffic jams, computer failure, terrorism and crime, epidemics, and climate change. Although it may sometimes be curiosity driven science, mostly it is applications-driven science. It is science driven by a desire to make systems as the ought to be - it is science motivated by the creation of new and better artificial systems. It is science for design.
The research of the Centre for Complexity and Design is highly interdisciplinary and involves fundamental research into the the methods of complex systems science supported by research into the design many domains of application. The Centre has taken a leading role in the development of the emerging new domain of Policy Design which sees policy in all areas as designing the future. We believe that applying the principles of design can change the process of policy formulation and implementation with better social, economic and environmental outcomes.
The Centre hosts various externally funded interdisciplinary research projects and supports an international Masters and PhD programme Conquering Complexity and the Science of Complex Systems. It is a founder member of the UNESCO Complex Systems Digital Campus UniTwin.
Research areas include:
Community Led Design - Dr Katerina Alexiou, Dr Theodore Zamenopoulos, Dr Pangeota Alevizou
Complexity in Manufacturing Design - Professor Claudia Eckert
Policy Design where social policy is seen as Designing the Future - Professor Jeffrey Johnson, Professor Graham Chapman, Dr Matthew Cook
Design of Complex Systems Professor Jeff Johnson, Dr Jane Bromley, Dr David Hales, David Rodrigues, Cristian Jimenez Romero, Ruggero Rosso
Design of complex multilevel land use transportation systems, Professor Jeff Johnson and Dr Joan Serras
Energy, Design and Innovation, Professor William Nuttall, Professor Nick Watkins, Professor Jeffrey Johnson
Art, Design and Complexity, Professor Jeffrey Johnson, Dr Katerina Alexiou, Dr Theodore Zamenopoulos, David Rodrigues
UNESCO CS-DS UniTwin, Complex Systems Digial Campus, Professor Jeffrey Johnson, Dr Jane Bromley, David Rodrigues, Cristian Jimenez Romero