top of page

Workshops at the Dutch Institute for Emergent Phenomena

Gathering scientists and philosophers across the Netherlands and beyond

Gathering scientists and researchers across the Netherlands and beyond is one of the main tasks of DIEP. Since 2018 that DIEP organisers a series of workshops connecting different aspects of the science of emergence. These workshops establish connections between different fields of expertise, in particular, cross-disciplinary endeavours between high energy physics and condensed matter, soft-condensed matter, self-assembly, multi-scale modelling, living matter, information theory, computation, logic. The first workshop was held in Amsterdam during the period 9-11th of May 2019 and gathered scientists and philosophers to discuss the conceptual and philosophical aspects of emergence. See below for the full list of past and upcoming workshops. Other events and meetings can be found here.
DALL·E 2024-05-09 00.18.55 - Create an abstract image of a complex fractal pattern with a

Challenges and Perspectives for Studying Emergence  in Complex Systems - IAS Academy Workshop

2nd of July 2024 | Amsterdam

Join us for an engaging workshop at the inaugural IAS Academy on July 2, 2024, designed to expand your understanding of emergent phenomena in complex systems. Hosted by Wout Merbis and Fernando N. Santos from the Dutch Institute for Emergent Phenomena, this session invites early career researchers (Master Students, Ph. D.s and postdocs) to delve into the intricacies of mathematics, physics and numerical related to Emergence across various scientific disciplines. The workshop aims to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and spark collaborative research, characteristic of the IAS experience.

Organisers: Fernando N. Santos, Wout Merbis

Complexity Across Scales

6th of June 2024 | Amsterdam

The study of emergent phenomena and complex systems spans multiple scales, encompassing diverse phenomena and mechanisms. Despite significant progress, our understanding of multiscale complexity remains incomplete. This workshop aims to address the state-of-the-art theoretical, mathematical, and computational modeling challenges that arise in bridging different length scales. By exploring critical and open questions, we seek to enhance our grasp of multiscale complexity through various perspectives and methodologies.

Organisers: Fernando N. Santos, Wout Merbis, Andrey Bagrov

Current Themes In Collective Intelligence

16th of May 2024 | Amsterdam

What is the underlying nature of intelligence across scales and systems, including ecological, human, artificial and social systems?

This workshop will explore measures of intelligence, its foundations, evolution and role in shaping animal, human, social and democratic behaviour. Topics that will be discussed include the critical brain hypothesis, information transfer in multi-agent systems, and the dynamics of collective intelligence in changing environments.

Organisers: Jay Armas, André de Roos, Swarnendu Banerjee, Soroush Rafiee Rad, Han van der Maas, Mike Lees, Wout Merbis
Screenshot 2024-01-23 at 09.45.15.png

Active Polymers and Filaments

5th - 9th of February 2024 | Leiden

Self-driven polymers, observed in biological systems from DNA chromatin to macroscopic organisms, have inspired bio-mimetic robotic models like worms and snakes. This interdisciplinary convergence seeks to understand the underlying mechanisms governing the self-organization of active filaments, promoting collaboration among experts to advance materials engineering and design programmable shape-changing materials.
Organisers: Antoine Deblais, Sara Jabbari Farouji, Saad Bhamla, Andreas Bausch

Exploring Emergence

25th of May 2023 | Amsterdam

The aim of this workshop is to explore these practices with thinkers from a multitude of backgrounds: to ask how different fields are using emergence as a tool, or even an organising principle. The workshop is very much intended as a brainstorm, bringing together scholars from relevant fields in an open and informal interaction, to learn from each other. There will be a maximum of four presentations from different perspectives, followed by a discussion with a set of guiding questions.
Organisers: Sarah Durston, Erik Verlinde, Jay Armas
Screenshot 2022-12-05 at 12.34.32.png

Perspectives and Challenges in High-Order Interactions in Complex Systems

6-7 December 2022 | Amsterdam

High-order interactions are interactions that go beyond a sequence of pairwise interactions. Multiple approaches exist that aim to detect and quantify high-order (or synergistic) interactions, of which Topological Data Analysis (TDA) and Information Theory (IT) are two of the most prominent approaches. Advancing insights into high-order interactions are crucial for understanding complexity in our modern world.
Organisers: Fernando N. Santos, Tiziano Squartini, Rick Quax

Polarisation, segregation and inequality

DIEP workshop | 16th of November 2022| IAS

Screenshot 2022-12-06 at 12.31.40.png

Self-organisation and self-organised materials

DIEP workshop | 6th of October 2022 | IAS

Screenshot 2022-03-09 at 18.36.53.png

Odd viscoelasticity

DIEP workshop | 31st March - 1st April  2022| IAS and Science Park


Out-of-equilibrium systems, emergence, and life

Workshop series since May 2020.
New meetings scheduled from 28th June 2021 to 14th February 2022 

The striking fact about many, and likely all, living systems is that they display robust, ordered and anticipatory (‘smart’) behaviour in spite of inherent stochasticity. When transitioning to the living state, material systems do not leave randomness behind, which makes their behaviour all the more difficult to understand, and difficult to emulate in artificial systems and models. It is currently unknown how to characterize, and to create or model, the energy-driven pathways out of the random and into the ordered state, or how to access such non-equilibrium states through energy-driven disorder-order transitions. This means that our understanding of out-of-equilibrium systems, emergence, and life, is still highly incomplete. This workshop brings experts from chemistry, physics, biology and computer science to tackle these questions.
Organisers: Sijbren Otto, Daniela Kraft, Peter Bolhuis, Wilhelm Huck, Patrick Onck.

Emergence in Physics

DIEP Summer school | 13th - 17th July 2020| @ Radboud University Nijmegen


This is the first Summer School organized by The Dutch Institute for Emergent Phenomena. The concept of emergence is often taken to mean that unexpected and fascinating high-level behaviour is produced by combining elementary low-level ingredients that interact in complex ways to give a whole that is "more than the sum of the parts”. However, this is only one aspect of emergence, and actions such as changing the scale of observation and/or taking limits may also give rise to emergent phenomena, even in relatively simple systems. There are examples of emergence all around us, from the fundamental physics of interacting particles or quantum gravity, to societal issues in health and finance. Finding out what links these examples and how to understand the links is our challenge. This school will provide you with the tools and attitude to work on emergence in physics and start making the connections to emergence in other fields.

from driven quantum matter to active metamaterials

Topology and broken symmetries:

1st - 3rd of July 2019 @ Utrecht University Library | Booth Hall

Over the last few years, there has been an explosion of activity in the fields of topological matter, active matter and designer matter. Concepts of symmetries and topology have been found as essential guiding principles to capture the emergence of new phases of matter such as frustration-free disorder, protected edge modes or non-reciprocal transport but remain elusive for far-from-equilibrium systems. This workshop aims at bringing together a broad group of scientists from the quantum and the classical worlds to identify the unifying concepts for the understanding of emergent electronic, mechanical, acoustic and electromagnetic properties of driven/active materials and metamaterials.

Hydrodynamics at all length scales

from high energy to hard and soft matter

18th - 22nd of November 2019 @ Lorentz Centre Snellius | Leiden

The recent rapid developments in hydrodynamic theory and its broad range of applicability beg for a gathering of three distinct communities, namely, high-energy physics, hard condensed matter and soft condensed matter, whose interaction in this subject matter is almost absent at the current time. This workshop will be the first and one of its kind, bringing scientists from widely separated areas of research both in the Netherlands and from abroad and giving them the opportunity of learning new techniques outside (but relevant to) their own field. Leading to substantial cross-fertilisation of methods and tools of different communities for solving problems in fluid dynamics at different length scales, this workshop will, in addition, foster novel interdisciplinary collaborations.

Emergence: conceptual and philosophical aspects

9th - 11th of May 2019 @ Mediamatic | Amsterdam

The phenomenon of emergence seems to pervade a broad class of disciplines while simultaneously being notoriously difficult to define in precise terms. Philosophers and scientists have attempted to catalogue different aspects and distinguish between distinct types of emergent behaviour. Artists, inspired by some of these ideas, have attempted to portray it in a variety of forms. The result of this multiplicity of endeavours is far from a unified theory or common perspective on emergence.
Featuring names of scientists and philosophers such as Piers Coleman, Robert Battterman, Nigel Goldenfeld, James Ladyman, Alexandre Guay, Eleanor Knox, Elena Catellani, among many others, this workshop aims at bringing together conceptual analyses and examples of emergence in different sciences (including physics, astronomy, cosmology, chemistry, earth science, biology) in order to better understand its scientific importance.
bottom of page