Keynote Speakers


Professor Mike C Jackson OBE
University of Hull (UK)

This keynote address looks at the sources of complexity in social systems and considers what systems thinking can offer to managers to help them deal with complexity. Complexity is seen to arise from increased interconnectedness and turbulence and from the different perceptions and interests of stakeholders. It manifests itself in organizations and society as technical, process, structural, organizational, environmental, people, and coercive complexity. Systems thinkers have developed, over the last 70 years, different methodologies attuned to different aspects of complexity. Examples include systems engineering, system dynamics, organizational cybernetics and soft systems thinking. It is important to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of these systems approaches in dealing with the different aspects of complexity. It is even more important to recognize that the sources of complexity are themselves interrelated. The best advice that systems thinkers can currently offer managers is, therefore, that they should use different systems approaches in informed combinations when confronted by complexity. This way of proceeding is known as ‘critical systems thinking’ and its origins and nature are explained.

Speaker Bio:

Mike C. Jackson is Emeritus Professor of Management Systems at Hull University Business School, UK. After graduating in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, he spent four years in the civil service. He has since gained masters degrees from Oxford and Lancaster and a PhD from the University of Hull, being appointed a full professor in 1989. Between 1999 and 2011 he was Dean of the Business School, leading it to triple-crown accreditation. Mike is a Chartered IT Professional and a Fellow of the British Computer Society, the Cybernetics Society, the Chartered Management Institute and the Operational Research Society. He is a Companion of the Association of Business Schools. Mike has been Chairman of the UK Systems Society, and President of the International Federation for Systems Research and the International Society for the Systems Sciences. He is a Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (New Delhi), the University of Cape Town, Queensland University of Technology, Wuhan University of Technology and Xiamen University. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the Universities of Ricardo Palma, Peru and Hull. Mike received an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list, 2011, for services to higher education and business. Mike has written and edited many books on systems thinking and management science, and published over 100 articles in refereed journals. His two latest books are Systems Approaches to Management (Kluwer/Plenum, 2000) and Systems Thinking : Creative Holism for Managers (Wiley, 2003 – also translated into Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Vietnamese). Mike edits the International Journal Systems Research and Behavioral Science (Wiley) and is on the editorial board of six other journals. He has received research grants from the ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, British Council, The European Union, Yorkshire Forward, the ERDF, and from organizations in the private and public sectors. He has supervised 20 Ph.D. students to successful completion and has delivered plenary addresses at numerous international conferences. He has also undertaken many consultancy engagements with outside organisations, both profit and non-profit.

Title : New Frontiers in Cloud Computing for Big Data and Internet-of-Things (IoT) Applications

Professor Rajkumar Buyya
University of Melbourne (Australia)

Computing is being transformed to a model consisting of services that are commoditised and delivered in a manner similar to utilities such as water, electricity, gas, and telephony. Several computing paradigms have promised to deliver this utility computing vision. Cloud computing has emerged as one of the buzzwords in the IT industry and turned the vision of “computing utilities” into a reality. Clouds deliver infrastructure, platform, and software (application) as services, which are made available as subscription-based services in a pay-as-you-go model to consumers. Cloud application platforms need to offer (1) APIs and tools for rapid creation of elastic applications and (2) a runtime system for deployment of applications on geographically distributed computing infrastructure in a seamless manner.

The Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm enables seamless integration of cyber-and-physical worlds and opening up opportunities for creating new class of applications for domains such as smart cities. The emerging Fog computing is extending Cloud computing paradigm to edge resources for latency sensitive IoT applications.

This keynote presentation will cover (a) 21st century vision of computing and identifies various IT paradigms promising to deliver the vision of computing utilities; (b) opportunities and challenges for utility and market-oriented Cloud computing, (c) innovative architecture for creating market-oriented and elastic Clouds by harnessing virtualisation technologies; (d) Aneka, a Cloud Application Platform, for rapid development of Cloud/Big Data applications and their deployment on private/public Clouds with resource provisioning driven by SLAs; (e) experimental results on deploying Cloud and Big Data/Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications in engineering, and health care, satellite image processing, and smart cities on elastic Clouds; and (f) directions for delivering our 21st century vision along with pathways for future research in Cloud and Fog computing.

Speaker Bio:

Rajkumar Buyya is a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Director of the Cloud Computing and Distributed Systems (CLOUDS) Laboratory at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is also serving as the founding CEO of Manjrasoft, a spin-off company of the University, commercializing its innovations in Cloud Computing. He served as a Future Fellow of the Australian Research Council during 2012-2016. He has authored over 625 publications and seven text books including “Mastering Cloud Computing” published by McGraw Hill, China Machine Press, and Morgan Kaufmann for Indian, Chinese and international markets respectively. He is one of the highly cited authors in computer science and software engineering worldwide (h-index=119, 75568+ citations). Dr. Buyya is recognized as a “Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher” in 2016 and 2017 by Thomson Reuters, a Fellow of IEEE, and Scopus Researcher of the Year 2017 with Excellence in Innovative Research Award by Elsevier for his outstanding contributions to Cloud computing.
Software technologies for Grid and Cloud computing developed under Dr. Buyya’s leadership have gained rapid acceptance and are in use at several academic institutions and commercial enterprises in 40 countries around the world. Dr. Buyya has led the establishment and development of key community activities, including serving as foundation Chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Scalable Computing and five IEEE/ACM conferences. These contributions and international research leadership of Dr. Buyya are recognized through the award of “2009 IEEE Medal for Excellence in Scalable Computing” from the IEEE Computer Society TCSC. Manjrasoft’s Aneka Cloud technology developed under his leadership has received “2010 Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Award”. He served as the founding Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing. He is currently serving as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Software: Practice and Experience, which was established over 45 years ago. For further information on Dr.Buyya, please visit his cyberhome:

Title : Regime shifts, catastrophes and long-term transients in ecological systems: plankton-oxygen dynamics under the climate change


Professor Sergei Petrovskii
University of Leicester(UK)


Ecological dynamics has long been regarded as a paradigm of complexity. I will begin with a brief overview of factors and mechanisms that shape the ecological dynamics to argue that the existence of multiple spatial and temporal scales, complicated structure of food-webs, and the nonlinearity of feedbacks make complexity its inherent feature. I will then proceed to considering the plankton dynamics as an example of generically complex system. Historically, plankton was one of the first systems in ecology that attracted considerable attention due to its complex spatiotemporal patterning. More recently, plankton has again become a major focus of attention but for different reasons. It is estimated that more than one half of the total atmospheric oxygen is produced in the oceans due to the photosynthetic activity of phytoplankton. Any significant decrease in the net oxygen production by phytoplankton is therefore likely to result in the depletion of atmospheric oxygen and in a mass mortality of animals and humans. However, the rate of oxygen production depends on water temperature and hence can be affected by the global warming. I address this issue theoretically by considering a novel model of a coupled plankton-oxygen dynamics where the rate of oxygen production changes with time to account for the ocean warming. I first prove that the model, albeit being simple or “conceptual”, provides an upper bound for a class of complex realistic models of ocean(bio) dynamics. I then show that, when the temperature rise ssufficiently high, a regime shift happens: the sustainable oxygen production becomes impossible and the system’s dynamics leads to plankton extinction and oxygen depletion. I also consider a scenario when, after a certain period of increase, the temperature is set on a new higher yet apparently safe value, i.e. before the oxygen depletion disaster happens. I show that in this case the system dynamics may exhibit a long-term quasi-sustainable dynamics that can still result in the regime shift but only after a considerable delay. Finally, I discuss the early warning signals of the approaching catastrophe

Speaker Bio:

Sergei Petrovskii is an applied mathematician with about thirty years of research experience in mathematical ecology and ecological modelling. His research spans across a broad variety of problems of ecology and population dynamics, with a particular emphasis on modelling complex multiscale environmental and ecological systems. He published four books and more than one hundred papers in peer-reviewed journals. Some of his older results on ecological pattern formation and biological invasion modelling have become a textbook material. His recent research on the effect of the global warming on the atmospheric oxygen where he discovered a new type of ecological catastrophe has been published in high-ranked scientific journals and highlighted by media around the world. He presently holds the position of a Chair in Applied Mathematics at the University of Leicester(UK). He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Complexity– a journal on theoretical and mathematical ecology published by Elsevier, and a member of the editorial board of two other journals. He has been an invited or keynote speaker at about twenty international conferences and he is the founder and the scientific coordinator of the MPDE (Models in Population Dynamics and Ecology) conference series.

Title : The Nabladot Operator for Hybrid Concrete Functions in Complex Systems

Professor Claudio Cioffi-Revilla
George Mason University(USA)

Complex systems are frequently characterized by hybrid functions consisting of both continuous and discrete variables—i.e., so-called “concrete” multivariate functions in the sense of D. Knuth. Examples include the fundamental probability functions for serial and parallel structures upon which all complex systems are built, the Binomial Principle for structural complexity, complex adaptive systems, Amdahl’s Law, the geometric mean associated with power-law distributions, and rank-size or Zipfian distributions. Traditional gradient-based operators from classical multivariate differential calculus and  sensitivity analysis are not applicable to a broad class of such systems due to the presence of discrete variables and relatively low-range integer values, such as small cardinalities in the neighborhood of Miller’s number 7±2. The novel “nabladot” operator for hybrid concrete functions of continuous and discrete variables is proposed and illustrated with examples from complex social and technological systems. Results show new features of complex systems previously unavailable through extant classical approaches and continuous approximations.

Speaker Bio:

Professor Cioffi received his first doctorate in quantitative political and social sciences from the University of Florence, Italy, in 1975 and a second Ph.D. in mathematical models international relations from the State University of New York in 1979. He has taught at UNC Chapel Hill, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Colorado-Boulder. He joined George Mason University in 2002 and is currently University Professor, Professor of Computational Social Science, former and founding chair of the Department of Computational Social Science, and founding and present director of the Center for Social Complexity. His research interests include complex systems in climate and human security, conflict modeling and radicalization, disasters and risk analysis, and social complexity theory and research. His current research projects include theory and applied research on multi-scale disasters in coupled human-artificial-natural systems (CHANS), climate change, and advanced formal methods for hybrid functions in complex systems. His research has been supported by DARPA, NSF, ONR, and DHS, among other agencies. He is founding past president and an active member of the Computational Social Science Society of the Americas, a Jefferson Science Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences,former Senior S&T Adviser at the US Department of State. He has authored over one hundred peer-reviewed scientific publications, including seven books, the most recent being Introduction to Computational Social Science: Principles and Applications, 2nd edition, pp. 600 (Springer, 2017).

Title : Sociality, Interference, and Complexity

Professor Helder Coelho
University of Lisbon (Portugal)

Polite conversations, within social circles, may help discuss politics at large, exchange arguments, and enhance our ability to make predictions about changes in society (intentions and behaviors). For example, asking people about their friends improves election forecasts. Recently, in UK during brexit referendum, public opinion was surprised by lobby campaigns, diverse interventions, and distracted by fake news and data biases. Somebody argues that mind pressing caused a different outcome, based upon infections through social nets.
In the past, we used social simulation (ProtestLab) to think about street protests and civil violence. The world is now different (after Trump´s victory) and other Data Science methods (sentiment analysis) are more suitable to discover what, in reality, is occurring  (intromission, contagion). Apart media influences, there are other ways (blogues, emails, social networks) to generate good results towards specific purposes: presentiments, suspicious and apprehensions affect corrupt choices and the whole decision process. We need be aware of those see effects.
Based upon my investigations (with my students) I shall discuss and deconstruct steps ahead, taking into account causality chains, the benefits for humanity. and not only the dark side of technologies.

Speaker Bio:

Helder Coelho is a full professor of the University of Lisbon (UL) in the Department of Informatics of the Faculty of Sciences, from August 1995, and retired from June 22, 2014. He is a permanent and elected member of the Portuguese Academy of Engineering (1999). ECCAI fellow (2002). Member of IFIP TEC12 (AI) and Chair of IFIP WG12.3 (Agents). Editor of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence (Ceser Publications) and of the Progress in Artificial Intelligence (Springer). He is currently member of the Advisory Board of the Research Unit UECE from ISEG/UTL and FCT, member of the Advisory Board of EPIA/APPIA Congress, and member of the Steering Committee of MASTA and the BWSS Workshops. He is now Coordinator of the Consulting Committee of the Mind-Brain College of the University of Lisbon.

For more information see his website:

Reverse Engineering Space-time Dynamics of Cellular Automata

Professor Hector Zenil
Karolinska Institute and Oxford University (Sweden and UK)


After surveying our recent work on new Turing-universality results in Elementary Cellular Automata found for the first time since rule 110 was proven Turing universal, and demonstrating how cross-boundary behavioural reprogrammability reveals evidence of pervasive universality, I will introduce an algorithmic perturbation calculus. This calculus provides a handle to explore the space of possible computer programs as advocated by Wolfram and is based on the concept of algorithmic probability. The calculus can be applied to reverse engineer systems from data allowing for the reconstruction of space-time dynamics of dynamical systems such as cellular automata from completely disordered states. The algorithmic causal calculus can also help find generative candidate models able to explain and find first causes, and to reprogram systems.

Speaker Bio:

Hector Zenil   holds a PhD degree in Theoretical Computer Science from the University of Lille and a PhD in Philosophy and Epistemology from the University of Paris. He currently leads the Algorithmic Dynamics Lab at the Karolinska Institute (one of the institutions that awards the Nobel Prize in Stockholm, Sweden. He has published around 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals, volumes, and proceedings, and has edited several books including A Computable Universe with a foreword by Sir Roger Penrose, and Randomness Through Computation, among several others. He also leads the Algorithmic Nature Group, the Paris-based lab that started the Online Algorithmic Complexity Calculator and the Human Randomness Perception and Generation Project (triggering wide media coverage). Previously, he was a Research Associate at the Behavioural and Evolutionary Theory Lab at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield in the UK before joining the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford as a Senior Researcher (faculty member) and then director of Oxford Immune Algorithmics. He is also the managing editor of Complex Systems, the first journal in the field founded by Stephen Wolfram in 1987.

Title : Crafting governance fit for the Anthropocene.

Professor Ray ISON
President IFSR (Vienna, Austria)
Fellow, Centre for Policy Development, Australia
Adjunct Professor, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Director, European School of Governance


Evidence of the systemic failure of governance is growing. Most analyses are partial rather than systemic and stop at first-order change (improving the current system rather than changing the ‘whole system’). This talk introduces a generic, heuristic model of governance as it now exists – the ‘diamond’ – and its elements of the state, the law, the private sector including the media, and civil society. How and why these elements are needed but function inadequately for the modern world are explored as are the relational aspects between elements? Is the whole more or less than the sum of the parts because of these relational dynamics? What is missing from current conceptions of governance systems? What could be added to create a more effective governance system fit for the Anthropocene? Three new elements, the biosphere, the technosphere and social-purpose are introduced as additions thus creating a new model, new relationships and a very different systemic dynamic that may, with systemic sensibility, systems literacy and systems thinking in practice capability enable crafting of new governance systems.

Brief Bio:

Raymond ISON , s a professor of systems at the School of Engineering & Innovation, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, The Open University UK,Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK, He is also President of the International Federation for Systems Research (IFSR), a Trustee for the American Society of Cybernetics, and Director of the World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics (WOSC). Ison focuses on Systems scholarship that draws on second-order cybernetics and the biology of cognition and for developing the use of Mode-2 modalities of research practice. He has made significant contributions in the areas of systemic governance, systems practice and social learning, systemic environmental decision making, ‘knowledge transfer’, design of learning/inquiring systems and agricultural/food systems. His research has found practical application in diverse fields including water management, organizational change, staff induction, Higher Education reform and rural development. Ison was awarded the Wesley College Foundation Medal by the University of Sydney in 2016. Ison is the author, co-author or editor of six books, nine journal special editions, 37 book chapters, and 137 refereed papers.

Real-time Machine Learning: a Big Data Perspective for Smart Cities Applications

Professor Mohamed BAKHOUYA
International University of Rabat, Morocco


Big data, WSN, and IoT technologies have been recently proposed for timely gathering and analysing information (i.e., data, events) streams. In this talk, we shed more light on the potential of these technologies for continuous and real-time data monitoring and processing in different real-case of smart cities applications (e.g, Healthcare, energy efficient building, smart transportation). In this perspective, we present how a smart city itself can be represented as a complex system by putting more emphasize on some challenges that are related to the design and the development of this type of systems in the context of smart cities.

Speaker Bio:

Mohamed BAKHOUYA  is an associate professor at International University of Rabat. He obtained his HDR from UHA-France in 2013 and his PhD from UTBM-France in 2005. He has more than five years experiences in participating and working in sponsored projects. He was PI of Aalto starting grant at Aalto University-Finland (2011-2013), Co-PI (UTBM side) of two European projects ASSET (Advanced Safety and Driver Support in Efficient Road Transport, FP7-SST, 2008-2011, and TELEFOT (Field Operational Tests of Aftermarket and Nomadic Devises in Vehicles, FP7-ICT, 2008-2012. He spent two years as a research scientist in US at George Washington University, HPC laboratory participating and working in sponsored projects, mainly UPC (Unified Parallel C) and NSF Center of High-performance and REConfigurable Computing. He was also a member (UTBM side) of EU EACEA Erasmus Mundus project TARGET I/II (Transfer of Appropriate Requirements for Global Education and Technology), 2011-2015. He is currently a PI of CASANET project (CNRST, 2015-2017), Co-PI of MIGRID (USAID-PEER program, 2017-2019), PI of HELECAR (PSA OpenLAB@Maroc, 2017-2019), Co-PI of SELFSERV (VLIR-UOS, 2016-2018), and Co-PI of AFRIKATATERRE (Solar Dechatlon AFRICA, 2017-2019). He was a reviewer of research project for AgenceNationale de la Recherche, (France, 2011), Ministero dell’ Istruzione, dell’ Università e dellaRicerca (Italy, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017), and for European Commission-FP7 (2013-2015). He was EiC of IJARAS journal and also serves as a guest editor of a number of international journals, ACM Trans. on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems, Product Development Journal, Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience, FGCS, and MICRO. His research interests include various aspects related to the design and implementation of distributed and context-aware systems using Big data and CEP techniques.




Moroccan Society of Complex Systems University Ibn Zohr Faculty of Sciences Agadir, Morocco National College of IT (ENSIAS), Mohamed V Souissi University

IEEE Moroccan sectionInternational Academy for Systems and Cybernetic Science