The 4th in a series of workshops titled The Economy as a Complex System that have taken place in the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), Chennai from 2004, the meeting will be a forum where physicists, economists and mathematicians will come together to discuss diverse scientific approaches to understand economic phenomena. One of the focal themes of the meeting will be the prospects of using the tools of statistical physics in economics, an enterprise that was dubbed “econophysics” just over two decades ago (although physicists have been working on economics problem even earlier). It is now also just about half a century from the publication of Mandelbrot’s famous paper that showed that price fluctuations (measured by logarithmic returns) are not distributed according to a normal distribution as widely believed at the time but rather has fat tails better described by a power law This observation has had far-reaching implications showing that the kind of phenomena that forms the subject matter of statistical physics may also include economic systems. From the 1990s onwards there has been a virtual avalanche of publications in econophysics – focusing on properties of financial markets, wealth and income distribution, strategic decision making, etc.
As discussed in the recent special issue “Discussion and Debate: Can Economics be a Physical Science?”of European Physical Journal- Special Topics (https://link.springer.com/journal/11734/225/17/page/1), a distinct character of this literature has been the emphasis on uncovering “universal” phenomena in economic and social context, through applications of methods borrowed from statistical physics. Analysis of high frequency trading data from financial markets has led to the discovery of a number of remarkably invariant features (e.g., the inverse cubic law of price fluctuations). This workshop will focus on this theme and discuss the problems & potentials of viewing (and modelling) socio-economic phenomena through the lens of physical science.


The workshop aims to initiate discussion and debate between scientists from different disciplines who are united in their common aim of understanding the collective behavior of homo economicus.

Confirmed Speakers


Registration is now closed

Please send e-mail to [ ecs17@imsc.res.in ] to apply for participation (enclosing CV and statement of purpose). Limited accommodation may be available for outstation participants (please mention in your letter if you would like to request for accommodation).

Note : PhD students and postdoctoral fellows are requested to arrange for a letter of recommendation from a senior scientist familiar with their work.

Event Schedule

Time Speakers Talk title
9:15-9:30 Opening Session Welcome
9:30-10:10 Sheri Markose Novelty Production by Digital Agents: The Logical Foundations and
Policy Design Implications of Complex Adaptive Systems
10:10-10:50 Tiziana Di Matteo Two different flavours of complexity in financial data
10:50-11:30 Tea / Coffee
11:30-12:10 Nils Bertschinger Volatility dynamics: Models and mechanisms
12:10-12:50 Anirban Chakraborti Financial markets as evolving complex systems: Correlations and co-movements
12:50-14:00 Lunch
14:00-14:40 Zbigniew R. Struzik Crashing the (In)Efficient Market (Hypothesis)
14:40-15:20 Siew Ann Cheong Big Data and Bottom-Up Agent-Based Simulations of Economies
15:20-16:00 Tea / Coffee
16:00-16:40 Sugata Marjit Economics as a physical science - Robustness check and an example
16:40-17:20 Rituparna Sen Spectral distribution of high dimensional covariance matrix for non-synchronous financial data
17:20-18:00 Sanjay Jain Network anatomy of innovation: Growth and creative destruction in an evolutionary model
19:00-21:00 Workshop Banquet at Turyaa

Time Speakers Talk title
9:30-10:10 Frederick Abergel Financial markets modelling : Do data make it more physical ?
10:10-10:50 Bikas K. Chakrabarti Fat tailed distributions for deaths in conflicts and disasters
10:50-11:30 Tea / Coffee
11:30-12:10 Kimmo Kaski Data-driven discovery of circadian rhythms of urban people - Are we like fruit flies?
12:10-12:50 Damien Challet Aggregation: From wisdom of the crowds to collective rationality
12:50-14:00 Lunch
14:00-14:40 Taisei Kaizoji On equivalence of random utility theory and entropy maximization principle
14:40-15:20 M S Santhanam Correlation, similarity and random matrix perspective
15:20-16:10 Tea / Coffee
16:10-16:50 Wataru Souma Study of early warning indicators of financial crisis
16:50-17:30 V Sasidevan Revisiting the rationality of Homo-economicus using co-action



Event Location

Ramanujan Auditorium
The Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc),
Chennai- 600113
Phone: +91-44-22543301
Email: sitabhra@imsc.res.in