Frank Schweitzer: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2016

Name Prof. Dr. Frank Schweitzer
Professur für Systemgestaltung
ETH Zürich, WEV G 211
Weinbergstr. 56/58
8092 Zürich
Telephone+41 44 632 83 50
Fax+41 44 632 18 80
DepartmentManagement, Technology, and Economics
RelationshipFull Professor

363-0541-00LSystems Dynamics and Complexity3 credits3GF. Schweitzer, G. Casiraghi, V. Nanumyan
AbstractFinding solutions: what is complexity, problem solving cycle.

Implementing solutions: project management, critical path method, quality control feedback loop.

Controlling solutions: Vensim software, feedback cycles, control parameters, instabilities, chaos, oscillations and cycles, supply and demand, production functions, investment and consumption
ObjectiveA successful participant of the course is able to:
- understand why most real problems are not simple, but require solution methods that go beyond algorithmic and mathematical approaches
- apply the problem solving cycle as a systematic approach to identify problems and their solutions
- calculate project schedules according to the critical path method
- setup and run systems dynamics models by means of the Vensim software
- identify feedback cycles and reasons for unintended systems behavior
- analyse the stability of nonlinear dynamical systems and apply this to macroeconomic dynamics
ContentWhy are problems not simple? Why do some systems behave in an unintended way? How can we model and control their dynamics? The course provides answers to these questions by using a broad range of methods encompassing systems oriented management, classical systems dynamics, nonlinear dynamics and macroeconomic modeling.
The course is structured along three main tasks:
1. Finding solutions
2. Implementing solutions
3. Controlling solutions

PART 1 introduces complexity as a system immanent property that cannot be simplified. It introduces the problem solving cycle, used in systems oriented management, as an approach to structure problems and to find solutions.

PART 2 discusses selected problems of project management when implementing solutions. Methods for identifying the critical path of subtasks in a project and for calculating the allocation of resources are provided. The role of quality control as an additional feedback loop and the consequences of small changes are discussed.

PART 3, by far the largest part of the course, provides more insight into the dynamics of existing systems. Examples come from biology (population dynamics), management (inventory modeling, technology adoption, production systems) and economics (supply and demand, investment and consumption). For systems dynamics models, the software program VENSIM is used to evaluate the dynamics. For economic models analytical approaches, also used in nonlinear dynamics and control theory, are applied. These together provide a systematic understanding of the role of feedback loops and instabilities in the dynamics of systems. Emphasis is on oscillating phenomena, such as business cycles and other life cycles.

Weekly self-study tasks are used to apply the concepts introduced in the lectures and to come to grips with the software program VENSIM.
Lecture notesThe lecture slides are provided as handouts - including notes and literature sources - to registered students only. All material is to be found on the Moodle platform. More details during the first lecture
Prerequisites / NoticeSelf-study tasks (discussion exercises, Vensim exercises) are provided as home work. Weekly exercise sessions (45 min) are used to discuss selected solutions. Regular participation in the exercises is an efficient way to understand the concepts relevant for the final exam.
363-0541-02LSystems Dynamics and Complexity (Additional Cases) Restricted registration - show details
Only for Mechanical Engineering BSc.
1 creditF. Schweitzer
AbstractThis module is an addition to the course Systems Dynamics and Complexity. It offers additional study cases to MAVT Bachelor students who enroll in the main course.
ObjectiveMAVT Bachelor students learn how to develop and analyze more sophisticated systems dynamics models from different areas, e.g. from biology (population dynamics, cooperation), management (inventory modeling, technology adoption and economics (supply and demand, investment and consumption), to name but a few. The goal is to apply analytical and numeric techniques to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of complex systems.
Content1. Modelling path dependence and formation of standards
- Why do clocks go clockwise? Why do people in most nations drive on the right? Why do nearly all computer keyboards have the QWERTY layout, even though it is more inefficient compared to DVORAK? It turns out that many real-world processes are path depended, i.e. small random events early in their history determine the ultimate end state, even when all end states are equally likely at the beginning. Students will learn how to model such processes, to understand the feedback mechanisms that lead to path dependence. As a case in point, we will study the 'war' between the Betamax and the VHS standards.

2. Optimal migration as promoter of cooperation
- Mechanisms to promote cooperative behaviour is a vibrant research topic in various fields - economics, evolutionary biology and management science to name but a few. Students will be introduced to one such mechanism - migration. They will develop and analyse a macroscopic model to study how the rate of migration affects the long-term cooperation rate in a population.

3. Information transfer
- Information flow in a social system (e.g. about the location of resources or appearance of a competitor) is an important component of group living. For example, it is well known that ants can achieve remarkable feats in finding an optimal route to a food patch through pheromone trails. The goal of this study case is to model information transfer in such systems by investigating the dynamics of trail formation in ants. The students will learn that the complexity in navigating to a food source may nevertheless be explained as a simple dynamical system with one control parameter only.

4. Decisions in social societies
- In many situations individuals have to decide between two or more options. Such decisions often have a profound impact on the system as a whole, especially regarding group cohesion. Group cohesion is preferred, as individuals can benefit from living in groups, yet it may not be the underlying reason behind individual choices. In this case, students will develop and extend a macroscopic model of an animal social system faced with a decision to choose a new home, and identify the conditions which promote group cohesion versus group splitting.

5. Antigenic variation of HIV
- One of the characteristic traits of HIV is that a host can be a carrier and a transmitter of the virus without experiencing symptoms for up to 10 years. This case is concerned with finding the mechanism of HIV disease progression. The students will develop a general population-based model for the interaction of an infectious agent with the host immune system. The model is applicable to a variety of infectious agents, ranging from acute lethal infections to chronic illness. Through analysing and simulating the model, the students will understand how the HIV virus interacts with the host and how the mutation rate of the virus is ultimately responsible for this long asymptomatic period.

6. Compartmental models in epidemiology
- Many diffusive processes in social systems, such as epidemics, can be understood as a result of the interaction between a few groups (compartments) of individuals. The most common example is to divide a population into those who are susceptible (S) to a disease, those who are infected (I), and those who have recovered (R) and are immune, and to model their interactions. These so called SIR models find wide application in studying non-biological diffusive processes, e.g. spread of technological innovations, fads , internet memes etc. In this study case, students will become familiar with the basic components of an SIR model and the conditions under which a disease can cause the outbreak of an epidemic. Students will extend the basic model to investigate more realistic scenarios relevant to e.g. different vaccination strategies.
Lecture notesWill be provided
364-1058-00LRisk Center Seminar Series Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 50.
0 credits2SH. Gersbach, D. Basin, A. Bommier, L.‑E. Cederman, H. R. Heinimann, H. J. Herrmann, W. Mimra, G. Sansavini, F. Schweitzer, D. Sornette, B. Stojadinovic, B. Sudret, S. Wiemer
AbstractThis course is a mixture between a seminar primarily for PhD and postdoc students and a colloquium involving invited speakers. It consists of presentations and subsequent discussions in the area of modeling complex socio-economic systems and crises. Students and other guests are welcome.
ObjectiveParticipants should learn to get an overview of the state of the art in the field, to present it in a well understandable way to an interdisciplinary scientific audience, to develop novel mathematical models for open problems, to analyze them with computers, and to defend their results in response to critical questions. In essence, participants should improve their scientific skills and learn to work scientifically on an internationally competitive level.
ContentThis course is a mixture between a seminar primarily for PhD and postdoc students and a colloquium involving invited speakers. It consists of presentations and subsequent discussions in the area of modeling complex socio-economic systems and crises. For details of the program see the webpage of the colloquium. Students and other guests are welcome.
Lecture notesThere is no script, but a short protocol of the sessions will be sent to all participants who have participated in a particular session. Transparencies of the presentations may be put on the course webpage.
LiteratureLiterature will be provided by the speakers in their respective presentations.
Prerequisites / NoticeParticipants should have relatively good mathematical skills and some experience of how scientific work is performed.