Capital City Complex Systems Symposium

Join us in Wellington, New Zealand for the Capital City Complex Systems Symposium, 13-14 February 2024.

Nau mai, haere mai ki Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

The second Capital City Complex Systems Symposium brings together leading researchers and practitioners working on complex systems.

Following the success of the inaugural event in 2023, the symposium fosters interdisciplinary collaboration in complex systems research across natural and social sciences, engineering, arts and humanities.

A core theme of the symposium is the interweaving of the latest advances in complex systems science with the concerns of communities, business and policy around how to ensure prosperous, resilient, equitable and just democratic life in a time of increasing uncertainty due to grand challenges such as climate change, biodiversity and wellbeing.

The symposium will feature keynote speeches from international and local guests, panel discussions and talks on topics such as collective intelligence, network science, social dynamics, digital democracy, urban systems, ecological systems, health systems, and more. Your registration fee includes full catering and a conference dinner.

The Capital City Complex Systems Symposium is a unique opportunity to learn from experts, share your work, network with peers, and discover new perspectives on complex systems. Whether you are a seasoned researcher or a newcomer to the field, you will find something valuable and inspiring at this symposium.

The Capital City Complex Systems Symposium 2024 will be held from 13-14 February 2024 at the Tiakiwai Conference Centre in the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington, New Zealand.

Juniper Lovato

Juniper Lovato is an educator and researcher in the field of complex systems and data science. Her current research focuses on data ethics, group privacy, privacy policies, AI ethics, ethics of AI art, complex systems, the science of stories, and open source ecosystems. Juniper is a member of the Computational Ethics Lab and director of partnerships and external programs at the Vermont Complex Systems Center/CEMS; University of Vermont. She recently completed her PhD in complex systems and data science at the University of Vermont.




Juyong Park

Juyong Park is a theoretical physicist who has worked on a diverse range of interdisciplinary topics in complex systems including the statistical physics formulation of networks, football (the American variety) competition networks, social network of musicians, human communication and movement patterns, and bioinformatics. After joining the Graduate School of Culture Technology at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology), he has pursued a complex systems-based study of culture and arts, most notably how human creativity can be scientifically understood.




Nicola Gaston smiles at the camera in a leather jacket with her arms folded.

Nicola Gaston

Nicola Gaston is a physicist at the University of Auckland and co-director of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. In 2023, she was awarded the Thomson Medal by the Royal Society Te Apārangi for her transformative leadership in the research, science and innovation sector and for driving change towards equity for women in science. Nicola has recently been thinking about how concepts such as emergence that underpin complex systems research can help us to better understand and deal with issues such as minoritisation as they relate to equity, diversity and inclusion.



Ciro Cattuto wears a white shirt, tie and black suit.

Ciro Cattuto

Ciro Cattuto is the scientific director of ISI Foundation, a non-profit research institute based in Turin, Italy, focusing on data science, complex systems, and their applications to public health and social impact. He holds a PhD in physics from the University of Perugia, Italy and has worked at the University of Michigan in USA, at the Enrico Fermi Center in Rome, and at the Frontier Research System of RIKEN in Japan. He is a founder and principal investigator of the SocioPatterns project, an international collaboration measuring and modeling human proximity networks.




Joel Miller

Joel Miller is an applied mathematician from La Trobe University who uses a wide array of techniques from physics and computer science to study biological questions with impact on public health. He primarily studies infectious diseases, dynamic processes on random networks, and the spread of infectious diseases in random networks. Joel’s recent research has focused on COVID-19 mitigation in many different contexts. He has also been focused on how heterogeneities in the structure of a population affects the spread of infection.

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Registration Tiakiwai Conference Centre
10-10.15am He mihi tīmatanga symposium opening Markus Luczak-Roesch
Dion O’Neale
Te Pūnaha Matatini
10.15-11am Keynote: Rethinking consent in socially-networked environments with models of distributed consent
Chaired by Béatrice Désy
Juniper Lovato
Vermont Complex Systems Center
11-11.30am Paramanawa o te ata morning tea  
11.30am-12.30pm Contributed talks
Chaired by Matt Parry
  Te mana o te raraunga: Māori data sovereignty in practice
Ben Ritchie
Nicholson Consulting
  Community gifting groups on Facebook Bogdan State, Vibrant Planet
  Applying complex network science to animal mating systems Chrissie Painting
University of Waikato, Te Pūnaha Matatini
  Economic complexity: An Indigenous perspective on diverse economies and development Jesse Pirini
Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington
12.30-1.30pm Kai o te rānui lunch  
1.30-2.15pm Keynote: The complexity of human proximity networks
Chaired by Dion O’Neale
Ciro Cattuto
ISI Foundation
2.15-3pm Contributed talks
Chaired by Dion O’Neale
  Check-in software for biosecurity: An industry application of network science Ben Brown
  Using drivers and transmission pathways to identify SARS-like coronavirus spillover risk hotspots Renata Muylaert
Massey University, TPM Whānau
  Uncovering putative drivers of mortality in salmon aquaculture using networked susceptible, infected and recovered modelling Ben Knight
Cawthron Institute
3-3.30pm Paramanawa o te ahiahi afternoon tea  
3.30-5pm Poster presentations
Chaired by Jonathan Burgess and Dion O’Neale
  Developing an AI-calibrated ensemble of models to inform decision making Ahmed Farid
  Visualising mobility flows from individual-level mobility data Euan Forsyth
Market Economics
  What and how to plant to improve landscape-scale restoration Henry Morse
Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, TPM Whānau
  Modelling Aotearoa New Zealand’s climate: Dynamical and machine learning approaches Isaac Campbell
  Tax and transfer microsimulation with TAWA Luke Symes
Te Tai Ōhanga – The Treasury
  Towards a hospital-wide simulation framework Melanie Reuter-Oppermann
University of Twente
  Te ara o te reo Māori Michael Miller
Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, TPM Whānau
  Popularity and usage metrics for open-source software components Nkiru Ede
Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, TPM Whānau
  Sex, money, and reputations Stephen Marsland
Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, Te Pūnaha Matatini
  Complex systems lessons and insights from the major environmental policy reforms 2017–2023 Troy Baisden
Motu, Te Pūnaha Matatini
5-6pm Networking cocktail hour Thistle Inn
6-9pm Hākari dinner Thistle Inn


Wednesday 14 February 2024


9-9.45am Keynote: Understanding ethical dilemmas in infectious disease interventions through modelling
Chaired by Emily Harvey
Joel Miller
La Trobe University
9.45-10.30am Contributed talks
Chaired by Emily Harvey
  A toy model of feedback between AI and an ecological system Claire Postlethwaite
Waipapa Taumata Rau  University of Auckland, Te Pūnaha Matatini
  Data science for transport policy Shrividya Ravi
Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport
  Complex systems for the most vulnerable Daniela Paolotti
ISI Foundation
10.30-11am Paramanawa o te ata morning tea  
11-11.36am Lightning talks
Chaired by Jonathan Burgess and Béatrice Désy
  Hops, skip, and a jump: The regional uniqueness of beer styles Bernardo Buarque
Motu, TPM Whānau
  Exploring the importance of non-homogeneous contact networks in modelling disease spread Ella Priest Forsyth
Covid-19 Modelling Aotearoa
  Process, organicism and the philosophy of complexity Luke Edwards
Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, TPM Whānau
  Battle for the sexes
Marcus Frean
Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, Te Pūnaha Matatini
  The trials and errors of data in the public sector Michael Howden
Public Sector Data + Insights Manager
  Refining the fuel of AI: The underappreciated significance of data quality in large language models Miles Thompson
Te Hiku Media
  Ebbs and flows of knowledge and influence across the science-policy interface Kyle Higham
Motu, Te Pūnaha Matatini
  Bayesian modelling as a tool to weave western science and mātauranga Māori to manage complexity in freshwater ecosystems Russell Death
River Research
11.36am-12pm Featured talk: Expanding ways of seeing and understanding a complex world: An introduction to system dynamics modelling
Chaired by Béatrice Désy
Justin Connolly
Deliberate, Te Pūnaha Matatini
Alex Macmillan

University of Otago, Te Pūnaha Matatini
12-1pm Kai o te rānui lunch  
1-1.45pm Keynote: Understanding creativity – The bridge between culture and science
Chaired by Kyle Higham
Juyong Park
Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology
Contributed talks
Chaired by Kyle Higham
  Papa Reo: Embedding cultural knowledge in AI systems Lee Steven
Te Hiku Media
  Adaptation for health and wellbeing: A participatory modelling approach Sarah Harrison
NIWA, TPM Whānau
  Specialists, generalists, and gender in the ecosystem of ecological research Kate Wootton
University of Canterbury, TPM Whānau
Paramanawa o te ahiahi afternoon tea  
3-3.45pm Keynote: Fewer is different
Chaired by Cilla Wehi
Nicola Gaston
Waipapa Taumata Rau University of Auckland, MacDiarmid Institute
He mihi whakamutunga symposium closing

General Admission NZ$200

Student NZ$100

Organising committee

  • Professor Markus Luczak-Roesch (co-chair)
  • Dr Dion O’Neale (co-chair)
  • Associate Professor Cilla Wehi
  • Dr Emily Harvey
  • Béatrice Désy
  • Jonathan Burgess (communications)
  • Pauline Donougher (operations)

The call for abstracts for the Capital City Complex Systems Symposium closed on Friday 1 December 2023 and notifications of acceptance were sent on Thursday 14 December 2023.


Programme committee

  • Dr Emily Harvey (chair)
  • Béatrice Désy
  • Associate Professor Markus Luczak-Roesch
  • Dr Dion O’Neale
  • Associate Professor Matt Parry
  • Dr Gillian Gibb

The committee may also recruit additional committee members as needed to reflect the diversity of submitted abstracts.