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Complex Dynamic Systems (CDS)

The Centre for Micro-Photonics has individual research groups each working and collaborating on different aspects of nano- and bio-photonics. The Complex Dynamic Systems group, led by Professor Damien Hicks, develops computational tools to understand the dynamics of far-from-equilibrium systems. Probabilistic models are used to infer, interpret and predict patterns of organisation in experimental data.

Group Overview:

Group Leader:
The size and complexity of experimental observations has created a data bottleneck that needs to be tackled by domain experts and expert modelers working together. We work with domain specialists, primarily in the biological sciences, to develop data-driven models of complex dynamic systems.


The mission of this group is threefold:

1) Experimental: To address domain-specific research questions by developing mechanistic and statistical models of experimental observations using the methods of probabilistic inference.

2) Theoretical: To explore generic rules for critical transitions in complex dynamic systems and the consequences for information processing and decision-making.

3) Educational: To nurture a new generation of researchers who can think probabilistically about multivariate data and who can work with domain specialists across disciplines.

AMDC, Hawthorn Campus
PhD scholarships are available for candidates interested in applying pattern recognition and machine learning techniques to understand complexity in real-world data. Those with a background in physics, statistics, computer science, or computational biology and anyone else interested in complexity science are encouraged to contact me.  In your initial correspondence please describe your level of programming expertise.

Research Projects and Affiliations:

Systems Immunology: In collaboration with Professor Sarah Russell, this project examines correlated fluctuations in deep pedigrees of single T cells measured using time-lapse microscopy. The goal of this project is to understand the mechanisms underlying the cell proliferation program and to build a verifiable model of diversification and differentiation in the T cell response.

Mesoscale Neuroscience: In collaboration with Professor David Liley this project combines probabilistic inference techniques with mean-field models of neurocortical activity to interpret electro- and magneto-encephalographic data. The goal of this project is to develop reliable, physiologically-relevant predictors of an individual’s response to anaesthesia.


Group Leader:
Damien Hicks

ph: +61 3 9214 4712