Self-Organization: Theory and Simulations

C. Gros, summer-term 2016

This course is an deals with self-organizing systems and will be split into two parts. Theory lectures and a numerical simulation lab. It is useful, but not necessary, to have attended the course on Complex Adaptive Dynamical Systems I. The necessary foundations of dynamical system theory and programming skills will be repeated.


Modern scientific investigations have found that many `Complex and Adaptive Dynamical Systems' (CADS) need for their understanding and investigation a basis of common concepts. A key notion in the theory of complex systems involves the concept of self-organization, relatively simple basic evolution equation may give rise to complex spatio-temporal patterns and dynamical structures.

The course will start with an introduction to dynamical system theory and an introduction to bifurcation and catastrophe theory. Further topics will include the Turing instability and pattern formation in diffusion-reaction systems, swarm intelligence, opnion dynamics, car following models and Darwinian evolution (error-catastrophe, quasi-species, hyper-cycles).
Preliminary list of topics.

Parallel to the theory lectures an introduction to programming (C++) will be given. The lab and exercises will consist of a mixture of theory and simulation tasks. The student is expected to develop and simulate, as a larger project, a robot (or a swarm of robots) within the LPZrobots physics simulation enviroment (introduction and support will be provided).

Please take look at example videos of illustrating the possibility of the LPZrobots simulation package. The simulation projects may be free (students own ideas) or in close contact with our own research for self-organizing motor generation.


This lecture course is suitable for all students enrolled in physics/neurosicences/informatics/biology courses starting from the third year. Basic knowledge of differential equations and probability theory is helpful.


problem session

auxiliary dates
Mon 10:15-12:00, Phys. 02.120
Wed 10:15-12:00, Phys. 02.120

Fri 15:15-17:00, Phys. 01.120
Tue 15:15-17:00, Phys. 01.120

(if any)
start: Mon, April 11 2016

start: Fri, April 15 2016
the problem session and the computer lab include the possibility
for small research projects und student seminars
» Schein für ein Arbeitsgruppenseminar (BA/MA) möglich «
requirements for a certificate (als Wahlpflichtfach mit 8 CP):
  • attend problem sesssions, do excerises
  • delvelop a project with the LPZrobots simulating environment for robotic systems
    and present it within a short seminar (about 20min) during the tutorials
    suggestions for project topics
  • oral exam (wenn benotet, ansonsten nicht)
Extra tutorials for installing the LPZRobots package:
  • Wed, May 18, 15:15-17:00, Phys. 01.120
  • Wed, May 25, 12:00-14:00, Phys. 01.120
See also


If you have any question just contact
  • Laura Martin (,; Phys 1.217
  • Bulcsu Sandor (,; Phys 1.141
  • Hendrik Wernecke (,; Phys 1.141
Bulcsu and Laura will also help you to find a subject for your seminar.

Lecture Notes

C++ slides

Project Presentations

Room: 02.120
Mon, 11.07, time: 10.00h - 12.00h Joel Winiger, Marius Peters, Jan Zimmermann Project 6b: Crowd dynamics of two-wheeled robots, escaping behaviour
Mon, 11.07, time: 10.00h - 12.00h Tom Olsen, Patrick Quoika Project 3: Sphere robot with three neurons and internal plasticity in different terrains"
Mon, 11.07, time: 10.00h - 12.00h Martin Schmidt, Dennis Spicker Project 4: Obstacle avoidance for four-wheeled robot
Room: 02.114 (seminar room)
Tue, 12.07, time: 15.00h - 17.00h Andreas Barthen, Maximilian Maercz Project 5: Train of coupled two-wheeled robots controlled by sinusoidal controler
Tue, 12.07, time: 15.00h - 17.00h Max Zuschke, Jonas Koehler, Phillip Trapp Project 6a: Swarm of two-wheeled robots, flocking behaviour
Tue, 12.07, time: 15.00h - 17.00h Jan Rais, Luise Schulte Project 7a: Traffic congestion of two-wheeled robots in a single lane
Room: 02.120
Wed, 13.07, time: 10.00h - 12.00h Tim Koglin, Sigrid Traegenap, Nicklas Riebsamen Project 7b: Traffic congestion of two-wheeled robots on circle
Wed, 13.07, time: 10.00h - 12.00h Lars Grober, Philipp Arnold Project 8: Walking robots
Wed, 13.07, time: 10.00h - 12.00h Christopher Donath, Christiano Vogt, Fabian Farina Project 1: barrel/sphere robot with to neurons and short-term synaptic plasticity


[ unbedingt beim Prüfungsamt anmelden ]
Inhalt: Theorie, Programmieren und Übungsaufgaben.
Bitte eine Woche vorher auf mögliche Änderungen der Termine überprüfen.
  • Di, 9. August 2016, 9:30 : Joel Winiger
  • Di, 9. August 2016, 10:15 : Luise Schulte
  • Di, 9. August 2016, 11:00 : Jan Rais
  • Di, 9. August 2016, 13:15 : Andreas Barthen
  • Di, 9. August 2016, 14:00 : Tim Koglin
  • Di, 9. August 2016, 14:45 : Maximilian Märcz
  • Di, 9. August 2016, 15:30 : Sigrid Trägenap
  • Di, 9. August 2016, 16:15 : Nicklas Riebsamen
  • Di, 13. September 2016, 9:30 : Marius Peters
  • Di, 13. September 2016, 14:00 : Philip Trapp

Claudius Gros