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Current Research Projects

Apart from individual Fellowships, which are frequently based on various co-operative ventures with local scholars or institutions, the profile of Collegium Budapest (CB) is also moulded by special thematic fields and focus groups. In its first few years, the programme of CB mainly focused on the transformation process in Central and Eastern Europe. With the expansion of the centre, however, this profile has been enlarged to include theoretical natural sciences and, more recently, the comparative social sciences. Both applied and theoretical sciences are to be found in all three special fields encompassed by the institute: economic and political theories of transition are coupled with practical discussions on health care, social security, and institution-building; theoretical biology and physics are related to the practical issues of neurobiology, genetics, or research into AIDS; while a generic assessment of the methods and viable traditions of comparative social sciences and humanities is coupled with the reformulation of the European and non-European classical canons in education systems throughout the world.

Projects are listed in a chronological order with their details following below the list:

DYNANETS
Teller Ede Programme
Astrobiology Potential of Mars
SEA-EU-NET


Computing Real-World Phenomena with Dynamically Changing Complex Networks (DYNANETS), an FP 7 project funded by the European Commission (Jun. 2009 - May 2012).

Recent advances in experimental techniques such as detectors, sensors, and scanners have opened up new windows into physical and biological processes on many levels of detail. The complete cascade from the individual components to the fully integrated multi-science systems crosses many orders of magnitude in temporal and spatial scales. The challenge is to study not only the fundamental processes on all these separate scales, but also their mutual coupling through the scales in the overall system, and the resulting emergent properties. These complex systems display endless signatures of order, disorder, self-organization and self-annihilation. Understanding, quantifying and handling this information complexity is one of the biggest scientific challenges of our time. Amazingly nature seems to be able to process information on many spatial scales simultaneously. DynaNets will study and develop a new paradigm of computing through Dynamically Changing Complex Networks reproducing the way nature processes information. It will develop theory and methods of dynamical networks providing us with new insights into the underlying processes of nature, economy, and society. As a pilot study we will investigate the dynamics of the HIV and influenza epidemics from the molecule all the way up to the population. For more information on this project please visit http://www.dynanets.org/.

Focus Group convener is György Kampis (Department Head and Professor of Philosophy of Science at ELTE, Budapest); research fellows: László Gulyás (Computer Science), Susan Khor (Computer Science).


Teller Ede Programme, financed by the National Office for Research and Technology of Hungary (NKTH) (Dec. 2008 - Nov. 2011).

Based on the success of the so-called NAP project of last year, stakeholders decided to continue it under the name “Teller Ede Program” with an enlarged consortium also including the Computer and Automation Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (SZTAKI) in addition to Collegium Budapest and Eötvös Loránd University. The project consists of basic and applied research, with the former being carried out at the Collegium in the form of “large international research collaborations” with a number of acknowledged foreign experts. Applied IT research are carried out at consortium partners Eötvös University and SZTAKI. Results and corresponding infrastructure support the data intensive basic research at the Collegium. Consortium leader for the Teller Program (for the entire consortium) is Zsolt Frei, project leader for the Teller Ede Fellowship Program is Permanent Fellow Eörs Szathmáry. Former Permanent Fellow Imre Kondor and Eörs Szathmary, as well as Zsolt Frei and Resident Fellow Gábor Vattay lead Focus Groups corresponding to their respective subprojects as follows: ‘Astrophysics’ - Zsolt Frei, ‘Complex Systems’ - Imre Kondor, ‘Biological networks: Evolvability of metabolic, genetic and neuronal networks’ - Eörs Szathmáry and ‘Large Complex Networks’ - Gábor Vattay.

More specifically, the afore-mentioned subprojects focus on the following issues: ‘Astrophysics’: the extention of the Laser Interferometer Graniteware Observatory’s (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration, and the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) project that is aimed at radio observations at low frequencies. The ’Complex Systems’ subprogram addresses some of the fundamental problems in complex systems and networks, e.g. the irreducibility of complex systems, or the problem of correlations in complex systems. Within the framework of the ‘Biological networks: Evolvability of metabolic, genetic and neuronal networks’ subprogram, researchers focus on - among other things - the theoretical analysis of the evolvability of compartments based on compositional and digital information carriers and also on the hypothesis that neuronal replicators exist in the brain and evolve by natural selection.

Collegium Budapest Principal Investigators are Frei, Zsolt (Fellow of Collegium Budapest), Kondor, Imre (Former Permanent Fellow of Collegium Budapest), Szathmáry, Eörs (Permanent Fellow of Collegium Budapest), Vattay, Gábor (Fellow of Collegium Budapest).


Astrobiology potential of Mars funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Hungarian Space Office (HSO) (Oct. 2008 - Jun. 2013).

The project titled "Mars Express, Dark Dune Spots and the Astrobiology Potential of Mars" is aimed at the further analysis of Dark Dune Spots with emphasis on the possibility that liquid water exists there on the one hand, and on cryptobiotic communities as earthly analogues, on the other. The main tasks are built on results gained in the first, phase of the project spanning between 2004 and 2007. Based on the observations of Mars probes, experiments in Mars simulation chambers, and discoveries of surviving strategy of earthly analogues, such ephemeral conditions may exist on Mars that are tolerable for hypothetic organisms. The DDS-MSO hypothesis propose that in springtime, during the retreat of the annual polar cap, thin ephemeral liquid water may appear on the surface of dune grains. At the same time, a 1-2 mm-thick grain layer shields the shallow subsurface from strong UV radiation, but lets through enough light for photosynthesis. The model explains the formation of the strange surface features called Dark Dune Spots, and the flow-like structures that emanate from them. In the course of the project the group will analyse pressure and temperature conditions on Mars, their changes on a daily and a seasonal basis, as well as the possibility of liquid water existing inside the porous material. Theoretical models of liquid, above all adsorbed water, as well as cryptobiotic crust, as an ideal environment, will be implemented into the model. Various survival strategies have already been identified that could show, how hypothetical organisms may survive the harsh environment of Mars. For more information on this project please visit http://www.colbud.hu/esa.

Focus Group leader is Eörs Szathmáry, Collegium Budapest Permanent Fellow. Other CB Fellow working on this project is Ákos Kereszturi. Hungarian scholars involved are Szaniszló Bérczi, (Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences), Tibor Gánti (emeritus), András Horváth (Budapest Planetarium), Sík András (Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences), and Tamás Pócs (emeritus, Eszterházy Teacher Training College, Eger).


SEA-EU-NET (Facilitating the Bi-Regional EU-ASEAN Science and Technology Dialogue), an FP 7 project funded by the European Commission (Jan. 2008 - Dec. 2011).

SEA-EU-NET will increase the quality, quantity, profile and impact of bi-regional Science and Technology (S&T) cooperation between the ten member countries of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Member- and Associated States of the European Union (EU). Thus, this project not only supports the internationalisation policy of the EU, and in particular the specific objectives of its Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), but also contributes to the S&T foundation essential to the EU's political, economic and social objectives. The SEA-EU-NET project, supported by 23 key S&T institutions (15 participants and 8 members of the steering board), will deliver a wide range of measures to increase SEA-EU cooperation amongst academic and government stakeholders. Measures include the implementation of joint forums facilitating and strengthening the bi-regional and bi-lateral dialogue, analysing S&T structures and reporting to EU-presidencies in order to incorporate recent political developments and to generally highlight EU-ASEAN initiatives within the political decision making process. In addition the SEA-EU-NET builds a network of different stakeholders in the SEA region while at the same time linking it to other existing and upcoming ERA-, INCO-NET, and thematic EU-FP projects, thereby also facilitating the development of a coherent European-level approach towards international S&T cooperation. The main activities in which Collegium Budapest is involved are enhancing bi-regional policy dialogue; coordination of other EU and multi-lateral policies; analyses, monitoring and review; and the organisation of the 3rd EU-ASEAN Bi-regional S&T Policy Dialogue Platform in Budapest (2010). For mor information on this project click here.

The Hungarian Partner is Béla Kardon (Collegium Budapest).


 


For former research projects please click here.


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