Physics research at BIFI aims to break down barriers artificially separating traditional disciplines, in an attempt to opening wide new frontier lands where far-reaching scientific innovation can emerge. This is the realm of the Science of Complex Systems, i.e. those whose properties as a whole cannot be understood from the study of its individual constituents, to use an informal, almost universally accepted, working definition.
The recent explosion of activity in the modeling of complex systems, propelled by the unprecedented amount of information acquired, for example, in proteomic studies, Internet traffic, or records of social networks users, not only has provided an understanding of particular systems behavior, but importantly, has also led to the discovery of common properties shared by these seemingly disparate systems.
This cross-disciplinary research field has developed a growing set of methods and techniques of an impressive explanatory power, many of them inspired by, or akin to, the statistical and nonlinear physical analysis of equilibrium and non-equilibrium systems, with methodological ingredients coming from Statistical Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Dynamical Systems and Computational Physics.
The field of Complex Systems is being shaped by equally important advances in physics, biology, engineering, computer science and sociology. The pivotal role of physicists in this endeavor lies not only on the impressive efficacy of physical sciences methods and concepts as a tool-box to speed up basic comprehension, but beyond that, on the inspiring new physics often found in these systems.