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The Center for the Study of Complex Systems was established in 1999 by the University of Michigan Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR). Its first director, Carl Simon, helped CSCS grow from an informal program into a thriving, interdisciplinary research center. The Center currently has eight core faculty members and 32 affiliated faculty who represent nearly every college of the University. More than half of these take an active role in CSCS including participation in grant proposals, research groups and administration. In July 2005, CSCS formally became part of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA).

BACH Group

The founding members of CSCS were a now-legendary group of researchers known as the BACH Group. The group began meeting in the 1980’s and included researchers from a variety of disciplines who shared an interest in complex adaptive systems of all kinds.

The original members were Arthur Burks, Bob Axelrod, Michael Cohen and John Holland (BACH). Over the years, the group also included: William Hamilton (Biology), Douglas Hofstadter (Cognitive Science), Reiko Tanese (Cognitive Science), Michael Savageau (Microbiology), and Melanie Mitchell (Cognitive Science and Computer Science).

The most recent version of the BACH Group consists of Bob Axelrod (Political Science), Michael Cohen (Information), John Holland (Psychology and EECS), Carl Simon (CSCS, Math and Public Policy), Scott Page (Political Science, CSCS), Mark Newman (Physics, CSCS), Mercedes Pascual (EEB) and Rick Riolo (CSCS). The group still has occasional meetings and its members are actively involved in the Center.