The Leo Apostel Center invites everyone to the 65th of its interdisciplinary seminars in the 'Foundations Lecture' series. In this series CLEA invites scholars that are actively engaged in the research on the foundations of a particular discipline. Their lectures will always be directed to an interdisciplinary audience, and the discussions aim at confronting the foundations of the different disciplines.

What Is a Complex/Quantum System?

by Dr. Kirsty Kitto

Faculty of IT, Queensland University of Technology

Monday, March 31, 2007 at 3 p.m. in room D.1.07
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Campus Oefenplein

About the lecture

What is a complex system? Despite well over 50 years of active research into this question, the definition of complexity has yet to be agreed upon in the scientific community. This problem of definition will be investigated, and some reasons for it proposed. One very important barrier to the definition of complexity lies in the subjectivity, or contextuality of complex systems; the way we look at such systems can very much affect their definition as complex, and even the appropriateness of certain analytical techniques. A similar set of problems lie in quantum theory, which despite over 100 years of technical development is yet to be understood by one interpretation. Are these two problems related? This seminar will explore these issues, proposing a synthesis of these two problems through an investigation of the question: What is a quantum system?

About the speaker

Kirsty Kitto is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Information Technology at the Queensland University of Technology. She is currently engaged in modelling the structure of semantic space using quantum theory under an ARC discovery grant (DP0773341). Her general interests include complexity and emergence, the failure of reductive methods to model and generate complex systems, relational structures and Process Physics, the foundations of quantum theory, and quantum interaction. For more about her see

The presentation with questions will last about an hour. Afterwards, an hour or more is reserved for an in-depth, group discussion of the topic. More info at the CLEA office: phone 02-644 26 77 or via the Web-page: