Academy Colloquium 'Early-warning signals for critical transitions: bridging the gap between theory and practice'

10 October 2012  -  11 October 2012
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Complex systems ranging from ecosystems to financial markets and the climate may have tipping points where a sudden shift to a contrasting regime can occur. As such critical transitions can have dire consequences, being able to anticipate them is important. Recent work suggests that we may find generic early warning indicators to assess whether a system is approaching a tipping point (Scheffer et al., 2009).

A series of empirical studies have recently aimed to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of early warnings. So-far work has focused mainly on climatology and ecology. However, it seems reasonable to expect the same principles to hold for problems in medicine (e.g. epileptic seizures, onset of migraine, epidemics) and socio-economic systems (e.g. poverty traps, systemic market crashes, revolutions).

In this colloquium we bring together key thinkers from each of those field to exchange thoughts with a selection of prominent researchers on early warning signals.

On Friday 12 October 2012, a masterclass led by Dr. Dakos is organised for PhD students, postdocs or other senior researchers.

A colloquium funded by:

  • KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) and
  • SparcS (the SPinoza center for the Advanced Study of Complex Systems)