News at Smith

Center for Complexity in Business

Mar 01, 2010


The Center for Complexity in Business (CCB) was launched in 2008 to focus on the application of complex systems research to business problems. Complex systems consist of many components exhibiting non-linear interactions, whose behavior cannot be adequately understood or predicted by simple global models or by analyzing the components in isolation. Examples of complex systems include human economies, the climate, societies of cells and living things, including human beings, as well as modern energy or telecommunication infrastructures.

Cheap computational power has allowed researchers and practitioners to successfully apply complex systems methods to analyze previously intractable problems in areas such as engineering, physics, biology, and sociology. Complexity methods are now entering the mainstream of management research as well. The center’s areas of focus will include applications of complex systems methods, such as agent-based simulation, to analyze and solve problems that arise when a large number of entities—consumers, employees, traders, firms, etc.—interact in ways that stretch the limits of traditional management tools like game theory, operations research, statistical analysis, controlled experiments, qualitative methods, and the like.

In addition to research projects undertaken with corporate partners, the center will also be active in educating business leaders and students in the use of complex systems methods to analyze and solve business problems, including doctoral seminars, MBA elective courses and group projects with partner companies.

The center is interdisciplinary and draws on the expertise of faculty across the Smith School and the University of Maryland from many departments and disciplines, including decision, operations and information technologies;marketing; and computer science.

The center’s leadership team includes director Wolfgang Jank, associate professor of decision, operations and information technologies; executive director Roland Rust, David Bruce Smith Chair in Marketing, Distinguished University Professor, and executive director of the Center for Excellence in Service; research director and assistant professor of marketing William Rand; and principal administrative officer Carrie Baran.

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.