Skip to Content


The Complex Systems Advanced Academic Workshop (CSAAW, pronounced "see-saw") is an ongoing interdisciplinary research forum that receives funding from Rackham via its Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops (RIW) program as well as the Center for Study of Complex Systems.

The goal of CSAAW is to support graduate students interested in complex systems research. Through our regular meetings, students discuss their own work and receive feedback from other students, faculty and researchers. For some meetings, students present "tutorials" on various complex systems related topics or methodology. Other meetings consist of talks by and discussions with invited speakers who are active in complex systems research. These speakers, many of whom are recent graduates, discuss their own work in addition to providing advice on how to successfully complete a complex systems (interdisciplinary) disseration, and how to navigate through the post-graduate job market.

To find out about our upcoming events, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have questions about CSAAW or would like to join our emailing list, please contact  

CSAAW Featured Student

To highlight the incredible breadth of research being done by complex systems students at the University of Michigan, CSAAW is pleased to feature our outstanding students. Previous featured students can be found here.


Chris Miles

Chris Miles is a 5th year Physics PhD student researching problems in fluid dynamics with Prof. Charles Doering. His research includes optimal fluid mixing (How should one stir to optimally mix a concentration given a fixed energy budget?), acoustic droplet vaporization (What ultrasonic waveforms will cause micron-sized droplets to vaporize?), and confined active soft matter (What are the dynamics of a droplet containing active matter?).

He was born and raised in El Centro, CA – a mid-size town sitting just 10 miles north of the Mexican city Mexicali, the capital of Baja California. He completed his B.S. in Physics with a minor in Mechanical Engineering at MIT in 2010. Prior to coming to U. of M., he worked in industry as an intern at Continental Tires R&D in Hanover, Germany and at the physical systems engineering group at OnRamp Wireless in San Diego.

Chris is currently the organizer of the Complex Systems Advanced Academic Workshop (CSAAW).  Through this role, he has help organize short courses, student talks, and other events on complexity science.

Complex Systems Concepts:  Spatio-temporal pattern formation, nonlinear dynamics, and collective behavior.

Modeling Tools:

Numerical differential equation methods: Spectral and finite-difference.

Theory: classical nucleation theory, calculus of variations, optimal control, nonlinear dynamics, non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, and active soft matter.

Programming languages: Python and Matlab.

Free time: He enjoys camping and playing the ukulele.