Complexity Science Research Group

Welcome to the Complexity Science Research Group

HEC – University of Lausanne
Professor Solange Ghernaouti, Director


1. Understand the dynamics of complex systems and their interactions, anticipate how they will evolve, benefit from the opportunities they present and manage the inherent risks within complex systems, in order to influence their development and their impacts on society.

2. Comprehend the complexity of the environments that surround us in order to be able to solve complex problems related, notably, to security, economics, finance, health, risk management, and complex crises.

3. Develop the directions of interdisciplinary research in order to understand the information society, this society structured around information technologies, hinging on cyberspace and globalisation, and characterised by the complexity of the systems that make it up.


In order to respond in an adaptive, effective and efficient way to the various requirements for information processing created by the fact that information has become a new asset for society and that information systems and telecommunications are key factors in this evolution.

In order to make mathematics and information technologies available to serve social and life sciences, while managing the stakes involved in cross-disciplinary research:

• To develop a research movement based on transversal approaches to the understanding of problems arising from information processing and its optimisation;
• To encourage cross-disciplinary studies, notably those addressing the management of risks and crises, of security, and of decision-making mechanisms;
• To create strong interactions and partnerships with relevant academic and business entities at the national and international levels;
• To develop cross-disciplinary teaching in respect of complexity science.


Through a cross-disciplinary approach, our research group will study complex systems and their behaviours and interactions, including those with humans.

With a firm basis on the need to innovate in order to provide global answers in a system and cross-disciplinary way to the multiple stakes for society that have been raised in particular by the massive adoption of information technologies in all vital domains (business, health, medicine, biology, banking and finance, energy, communications, defence, politics), our research group includes internationally recognised experts who are dedicated to developing and promoting research into complexity science.

The structure and direction of the research

Our group is presently structured around two areas of complexity research, relating to the complexity of living systems and of the digital ecosystem and based on the conceptual tools and techniques that allow complexity to be understood.

Areas of complexity study
• Social and bio-complexity under the direction of Professor Alessandro Villa
• The complexity of the digital ecosystem and of cybersecurity (Cyber-complexity) under the direction of Professor Solange Ghernaouti

Conceptual tools and techniques for complexity sciences:
• Logical complexity under the direction of Professor Jacques Duparc
• Evolution of complex systems under the direction of Professor Marco Tomassini.


As a result of the scale and nature of the scientific activities of its members, this group constitutes a de facto scientific hub within HEC and the University of Lausanne that cannot be ignored; a group at the crossroads of the disciplines of social, life, economic and technical sciences.

The research work performed out over many years has contributed to breaking down the barriers between fundamental research, applied research, and teaching.


We are committed to learning, understanding, and sharing insights on complexity from its theoretical bases (logic and mathematics) to its applications in living systems (from human cells to society). Through a transversal approach to understanding complexity that takes account of advances in core and human sciences, and with honesty and ethics, our research and teaching activities are intended to contribute to the durable development of our society, to share knowledge, and to train the next generation of academics.