TAICON: The Trans-Atlantic Initiative on Complex Organizations and Networks

TAICON is a trans-Atlantic community active in the areas of social networks and complexity, based at Harvard and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETH). These research areas have gained in prominence in recent years, thanks to the realization that interconnectedness and complexity are inescapable features of social phenomena. Moreover, their significance has been amplified by processes of globalization, which have accelerated the decline of boundaries and facilitated an exponential increase in the rate and volume of trans-national communication.

These themes have been developed by both social scientists and natural scientists. Social scientists, for example, study the role that networks and “social capital” play in the success of organizations. Physicists have developed tools to study the emergence of dynamic connections in large systems (such as the World Wide Web). However, the agendas of these research communities have not been integrated. Given that both of these communities are concerned with processes of interconnectedness, this failure to communicate across the topical divide is particularly ironic. This is unfortunate, because there is great potential for intellectual synergies from scholarly exchange between complexity theorists and network specialists.

TAICON provides a forum to facilitate such integration by leveraging the complementarities of Harvard and ETH. Our collaboration aims to bring together the strengths of both institutions while narrowing the communication gap between the natural and social sciences. We also strive to bridge the geographic chasm between these research communities in the US and Europe. Although these communities are highly active on both sides of the Atlantic, to date they have remained relatively isolated from one another.

TAICON grew out of the Cambridge Colloquium on Complexity and Social Networks, which was founded by Cederman and Lazer.

> Project website <


01/30/2006 - PDF - PPT - Animations (WMA/AVI) - Discuss this on our blog
TAICON Seminar
"The architecture of real networks: from the Web to social networks (PDF)", Albert-László Barabási, University of Notre Dame. PPT - Animation "Network attack" (WMV) - Animation "Network failure" (WMV) - Animation "Network generation" (WMV) - Animation "Network full" (WMV)
January 30, 2006, Swiss House, Noon – 1:30 p.m.

TAICON Seminar - Discuss "Why the future happens..." on our blog
"Why the Future Happens: Socionomics and the Science of Surprise", John Casti, Complexica and Santa Fe Institute.
Swiss House, Noon – 1:30 p.m.

01/12/2005 - Video stream
TAICON Seminar
See the video stream of Duncan Watts' January 12, 2005,lecture, "Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age."