Luís A. Nunes Amaral

co-Director, Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems
Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering
Professor of Physics & Astronomy (by courtesy)
Professor of Medicine (by courtesy)

Chemical & Biological Engineering
2145 Sheridan Road (Room E136)
EvanstonIL 60208US
Phone: (847) 491-7850


Many natural and social systems display global organization and coordination without centralized control. The origin of this global coordination is a topic of great current interest. Here we investigate a density-classification task as a model system for coordination and information processing in decentralized systems. We show that sophisticated strategies, selected under idealized conditions, are not robust to environmental changes. We also demonstrate that a simple heuristic is able to successfully complete the classification task under a broad range of environmental conditions. Our findings hint at the possibility that complex networks and ecologically efficient rules coevolve over time.