John Beggs, Indiana University

Recent experiments in neuroscience suggest that cortical networks at many scales may be operating near a critical point, much like that seen in a second-order phase transition. In this talk I will review experimental data from several labs, including ours, which suggest this. I will also explain why information transmission, information storage and computational power are all expected to peak at the critical point in neural networks.

John Toner, University of Oregon

Flocking - the collective motion of large numbers of organisms or other self-propelled entities - exhibits a number of strange and baffling phenomena. Indeed, its very existence in two dimensions would appear to violate a fundamental theorem of statistical mechanics, while in any spatial dimension, flocks exhibit giant number fluctuations far in excess of those predicted by the "law of large numbers" of statistics.