third international symposium on recurrence plots Complex Systems Laboratory, University of Montreal
August 26-28, 2009  

Joe Zbilut 2003 in Potsdam It was a great sorrow to us to hear that Joe Zbilut unexpectedly passed from this life on Saturday, January 10th, 2009. We will miss a brilliant and influential scientist with many fresh ideas, support and understanding, and a good friend. He leaves a big gap in our scientific life, but will remain in our thoughts as one who brought forward the idea on the recurrence plot and its quantification so much and made them popular in the scientific world.

The recurrence plot symposium in Montreal will be dedicated to his memory.


Recurrence plots at the crossroad between theory and application: A flexible approach for studying complex systems

The third international symposium on recurrence plots will be organised by the Complex Systems Laboratory, University of Montreal. It will be held at August 26-28, 2009.

A human cell, a stock market, a city, a bridge, a forest, and a social community all have in common that they form complex systems made of nonlinearly interacting units, which are hierarchically organised in time and space. The objective of the symposium is the exchange of knowledge among scientists investigating different classes of complex phenomena by means of recurrence analysis.

Recurrence plots (RP) form an efficient strategy for both visualizing and quantifying nonlinear spatiotemporal dynamics and have found applications in various fields. The flexibility of the RP approach resides notably in its robustness regarding nonstationarity and transient dynamics. While theoretical works on RP have now reached maturity, the approach is at the crossroad in terms of expanding its potential to the study of empirical systems.

For instance, various scientific disciplines are all tackling similar questions that require a complex systems approach:

  • Can we develop indicators that serve as warning signals for impending regime shifts or critical thresholds in the system dynamics?
  • What is the characteristic observation scale that allows for an optimal description of the system dynamics in space and time?
  • How to quantify the resilience (return time to equilibrium) and stability (resistance to external forcing) of a system subjected to disturbance regimes?
  • Can we derive generalities on how natural and man-made systems develop in time?
  • Amongst interacting units in the system, which ones are the keystones for sustaining its global functioning?

The RP approach could help to tackle questions regarding the behavior of complex systems, but also to contribute novel hypotheses on the structure and functioning of these systems. Scientists from various research fields are invited to attend the symposium and investigate their favorite research questions through the use of recurrence plots.

Participants of the third international recurrence plot symposium in Montreal, August 2009 (Photo: Nathalie Désilets).

The first two international recurrence plot workshops were organised in Potsdam (Germany) and Siena (Italy). The web sites of these very successful events are available at ws2005 and ws2007.

Organisational and scientific committee

Lael Parrott (Complex Systems Laboratory, Department of Geography, University of Montreal)
Norbert Marwan (Research Domain Transdisciplinary Concepts and Methods, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research)
Raphaël Proulx (Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena)
Joseph Zbilut (Department of Molecular Biophysics & Physiology, Rush University)
Charles L. Webber, Jr. (Department of Physiology, Loyola University Chicago)

Further information on recurrence plots



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