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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  


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.

Summer Schedule

  • Journal Club (317 WH):
    • 5/19, 12pm :   Mandelbrot, B. (1967). How Long Is the Coast of Britain? Statistical Self-Similarity and Fractional Dimension. Science, 156(3775), 636–638.     
    • 5/24, 12pm:    West, G. B., Brown, J. H., & Enquist, B. J. (1999). The Fourth Dimension of Life: Fractal Geometry and Allometric Scaling of Organisms. Science, 284(5420), 1677–1679.
    • 6/07, 12pm:    Harte, J., & Newman, E. A. (2014). Maximum information entropy: A foundation for ecological theory. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 29(7), 384–389.