Scaling Cascades in Complex Systems

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German Research Foundation Extends Funding for Collaborative Research Center at Freie Universität Berlin

The collaborative research center CRC 1114: Scaling Cascades in Complex Systems based at Freie Universität Berlin has received a funding extension of four years. The news was recently announced by the German Research Foundation in Bonn. This funding will allow the participating scientists from meteorology, geology, biochemistry, mathematics, and physics to continue their work on modeling and simulation technologies for predicting earthquakes and high precipitation, for example. The joint speakers for the collaborative research center are Dr. Marita Thomas from the Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics and Dr. Frank Noé, professor of Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences at Freie Universität Berlin. Participating institutions include the University of Potsdam, Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics, German Research Center for Geosciences, Zuse Institute Berlin, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, and Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.

Two collaborative research centers in which Freie Universität Berlin is involved were also granted funding extensions: "Mechanisms and Disturbances in Memory Consolidation: From Synapses to Systems" based at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and "Matrix in Vision" at Charité - Universitätsmedizin, the joint medical faculty of Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität.

Complex systems with scaling cascades are fundamental to a variety of scientific systems. These processes feature two or more characteristic scales. Their smallest and largest scales are widely separated, and much of their scale range participates in the process interactions. These processes are also often too complex to be replicated in lab experiments, but there is hope that they can be understood through high-performance computational simulations. Such simulations remain challenging, however, due to the presence of large numbers of degrees of freedom and important interactions of the smallest, largest, and intermediate scales. The main challenge for this collaborative research center thus lies in the development of modeling techniques that allow for a controlled distribution of available computational degrees of freedom over the pertinent scale hierarchies such that each scale and subprocess is represented adequately with respect to calculating the goals of the respective simulation.

Collaborative research centers allow researchers to tackle innovative, challenging and long-term research projects according to the guidelines of the German Research Foundation and should enable the advancement of priority research areas as well as structural development at the participating institutions. Supporting early-career researchers and promoting gender equity among researchers also plays an essential role in this regard.

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