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Complex Systems Task Group Summaries

Task Groups Overview
At the conference, participants were divided into twelve interdisciplinary task groups. The groups spent nine hours over three days exploring diverse challenges at the interface between science, engineering, and medicine. 

The objectives of the task groups were to spur new thinking, to have people from different disciplines interact and to forge new scientific contacts across disciplines.  Participants were placed in one task group and remained in that group for the entire conference.  Each group spent a good portion of the conference developing a possible scientific plan to solve an outstanding challenge posed to it.  The composition of the groups was intentionally diverse, including researchers from science, engineering and medicine, as well as representatives from public and private funding organizations, university and government leadership and science journals.
On Saturday morning, the task groups gave a short report out (5-6 minutes each group) to share where they were. A more extensive report-out was provided on Sunday morning (about 12 minutes including Q&A).

Each task group includeed a graduate student in a university science writing program.  Based on the group interaction and the final briefings, the students wrote a group summary, which wasreviewed by the group members. These summaries describe the problem and outline the approach taken, including what research needs to be done to understand the fundamental science behind the challenge, the proposed plan for engineering the application, the reasoning that went into it and the benefits to society of the problem solution.  The summaries are available below and as a publication Complex Systems through National Academies Press.

Conference and Task Group Summaries

Conference Overview

Task Group 1: How would you design the acquisition and organization of the data required to completely model human biology?

Task Group 2: What does it take to achieve a sustainable future? The problem of the commons: achieving a sustainable quality of life.

Task Group 3: How can we enhance the robustness via interconnectivity?
     Task Group A Summary
     Task Group B Summary

Task Group 4: Can engineering systems and control approaches generate new strategies for altering imbalanced macrophage profiles in human disease?

Task Group 5: How can social networks aid our understanding of complexity?

Task Group 6: The brain is the epitome of complexity.  How will understanding the complex, linked interactions among many types of neurons in the brain lead to knowing how the brain contributes to normal function and susceptibility to neuropsychiatric disease?
    Task Group A Summary
    Task Group B Summary

Task Group 7: How can we enhance robustness of engineered systems, and how can the methods of engineering analysis be extended to address issues of complexity and management in other fields?

Task Group 8: Ecological robustness: Is the biosphere sustainable?

Task Group 9: Can one control flow and transport in complex systems?
     Task Group A Summary
     Task Group B Summary