Para Limes

Conference: Complexities of Time

Conference: Complexities of Time

Date: 19 – 21 March 2018

Venue: Auditorium, Level 2, Nanyang Executive Centre, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Address: 60 Nanyang View, Singapore 639673


“The world remains, always, a bundle of processes evolving in time,” — Lee Smolin

We, the world that we live in and the universe(s) we are part of, are being shaped and have been shaped by processes that evolve(d) along different time scales. Think of the time scales of evolution (from the expansion of the universe to the development of life, the diversity of life and the extinction of species), the time scales of chemical reactions and our metabolic processes, the time scales of social processes, and the time scales (linear or circular) along which our histories, communities, families and individual lives develop. The processes that evolve along those time scales interact in ways that give cause to phenomena of change that somehow lead to the reality we live in. Through legends, literature, art and science we know the outcome of these interactions, but the dynamics and complexities of these interactions are largely unknown.

The seventh Para Limes complexity conference is about “Complexities of Time”1. It will raise questions about the nature of time and change, as well as the geographical, geophysical, cultural and the very personal dimensions to time. It will also raise questions about how to deal with these different dimensions of time and what that will mean for analyzing and understanding our past, and sensing and exploring our future, how to manage our science, our lives, our systems, or the world we live in.

The annual complexity conferences have become widely recognized as unique in South East Asia. For these conferences, we invite some of the best scientists and thinkers in the area of complexity. To hear them share their insights and partake in their discussions is a great experience for all participants.

This seventh conference also marks the launch of the Complexity Institute at NTU as the hub for a South East Asian Complexity Network. Thus, the conference is jointly organized by Para Limes and the Complexity Institute.

1The earlier conferences were: “More is Different” (2012), “A Crude Look at the Whole” (2013), “Hidden Connections” (2014), “Emerging Patterns” (2015), “Silent Transformations” (2016) and “Causality-Reality” (2017). The first three conferences were organized by NTU’s complexity program, the predecessor of Para Limes. Para Limes alludes to a world beyond boundaries.

Videos & Presentation Slides

Peter Ho – Opening Address

Senior advisor to the Centre for Strategic Futures, Singapore

Jan Wouter Vasbinder – Welcome Remarks

Member of Governing Board, Para Limes

Mikhail Filippov

Research Fellow, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Nanyang Technological University

Geoffrey West

Former President and Distinguished Professor of the Santa Fe Institute, United States

Douglas H. Erwin

Senior Scientist and Curator, National Museum of Natural History, United States

Helga Nowotny

Professor Emerita of Science and Technology Studies at ETH Zurich and Former President of European Research Council, Austria

Semir Zeki

Professor of Neuroesthetics at the University College London, United Kingdom

Jan Wouter Vasbinder – Welcome Remarks

Member of Governing Board, Para Limes

W. Brian Arthur

External Professor at Santa Fe Institute, United States

Aaron Maniam

PhD Candidate/ Clarendon Scholar, Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University, United Kingdom

Virginie Van Wassenhove

CEA, NeuroSpin; INSERM, Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit; Université Paris-Saclay; Ecole des Neurosciences, Paris, France

J. Stephen Lansing

Professor in the Asian School of Environment and Co-Director of the Complexity Institute at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Jan Wouter Vasbinder – Closing Remarks

Member of Governing Board, Para Limes