Exploratory Research Project PN-III-P4-ID-PCE2020-0647
Statistical Thermodynamics Approach to Complex Systems

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Short description of the project

Statistical Thermodynamics Approach to Complex Systems: The approach combines studies both from the bottom-up approach and top-down approach of statistical thermodynamics to complex systems. It relates the descriptive equations of stochastic coarse-grained dynamics with mathematically constructed thermodynamic quantities, alike the entropy, energy or temperature. Beside pure theoretical studies our research has also a data-mining and experimental side by gathering electronic data for proving the validity of our model hypothesis and testing the results.

The project PN-III-P4-ID-PCE2020-0647 entitled "Statistical Thermodynamics Approach to Complex Systems" is an Exploratory Research Project implemented at the Babeș-Bolyai University and funded by the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, UEFISCDI. The director of the project is prof. dr. Néda Zoltán. The total budget of the project is 1 198 032 lei.

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Project description

The research has three main objectives


gathering relevant experimental data and analyzing them in view of the evolutionary models


bottom up approach that starts from microscopic evolution equations and targeting the equilibrium behavior of the system


top down approach where thermodynamic quantities are generalized for the investigated system and verified at microstate level

Research topic

The extension of the methods of classical and modern statistical thermodynamics to non-physical complex systems is far from being a rigorously solved problem. Presently we do not have a well justified method for choosing among a variety of entropies or other complexity measures when we intend to characterize the complexity level of a system and our understanding is also incomplete for using other thermodynamic variables in a phenomenological description of these systems.

For the bottom-up approach we already guessed from recent studies based on generalized master-equations that the proper formula for entropy can depend on the category of the dynamics and stationary state at which the studied complex systems converge. Our objective is to study in detail some of the complex systems already mentioned in our review work [Biro, 2018a] and construct thermodynamic quantities for these based on the microscopic evolution equations (usually a dynamic master equation) and the systems stationary behavior. We have in mind to reconsider dynamical models on income and wealth distributions, stock-index dynamics, population abundance distributions in biological and complex systems, complex social and economic networks, earthquake/lightning statistics and particle production in high-energy accelerator experiments. These studies can lead us also in the direction of the non-equilibrium statistical physics, since processes and distributions arising during the non-equilibrium dynamical processes will be also investigated. The chosen systems are interesting for practical applications as well.

For the top-down approach we plan to construct thermodynamic quantities for the targeted complex system that helps in interpreting the observed stationary statistics and universally valid laws in the investigated system. If the thermodynamic quantities are rigorously defined we can construct equations of state that can predict interesting relations among the relevant parameters of the system. An immediate example in such sense is for example wealth in social systems, where we already know that a generalized entropy (the Tsallis q-entropy) could be appropriate. Maximizing this entropy for a fixed average wealth leads to the q-exponential distribution which seems appropriate to describe the whole shape of the wealth-distribution curves. One can go then further and look for other thermodynamic quantities for this system like the energy, temperature etc. Defining these quantities so that it is compatible with the q-additivity of the entropy could allow us to further proceed in a phenomenological description of the investigated system by discovering important relations among these. Regarding the measures characterizing the level of complexity in the targeted system-class a proper entropy or quantities related to this could be appropriate. We will start from the rigorously defined entropy and generalize this to other formulas, that are already used to quantify the level of inequality (Gini index for example) or other impurity measures.

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Progress Reports and Publications

Progress Report 2021

» read the report of stage #1 (RO)

» read the overview of stage #1 (EN)

Progress Report 2022

» read the report of stage #2 (RO)

» read the overview of stage #2 (EN)

I. Gere, S. Kelemen, G. Toth. TS Biro and Z. Neda, Wealth distribution in modern societies: Collected data and a master equation aproach, Physica A - Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, vol. 581, art. nr. 126194 (2021) DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2021.126194

A. Gergely, Cs. Paizs, R. Totos and Z. Neda, Oscillations and collective behavior in convective flows, Physics of Fluids, accepted for publication 2021, preprint:
A. Gergely, Cs. Paizs, R. Totos and Z. Neda, Oscillations and collective behavior in convective flows, Physics of Fluids vol. 33, art. 124104 (2021), DOI: 10.1063/5.0073347

I. Gere, Sz. Kelemen, TS Biro and Z. Neda; Wealth distribution in cities. Transition from socialism to capitalism in view of exhaustive wealth data and a master equation approach, submitted to Frontiers in Physics (2021)
I. Gere, Sz. Kelemen, TS. Biró and Z. Néda, Wealth Distribution in Villages. Transition From Socialism to Capitalism in View of Exhaustive Wealth Data and a Master Equation Approach, Front. Phys. vol. 10 art. 827143 (2022) DOI: 10.3389/fphy.2022.827143

TS. Biró, A. Telcs, M. Józsa and Z. Néda 2, f-Gintropy: An Entropic Distance Ranking Based on the Gini Index, Entropy, vol. 24, art. 407 (2022) DOI: 10.3390/e24030407

A. Gergely and Z. Néda, Computational Fluid Dynamics Approach for Oscillating and Interacting Convective Flows, Fluids vol. 7, art. 339 (2022) DOI: 10.3390/fluids7110339

TS. Biró, Z. Néda, Thermodynamical Aspects of the LGGR Approach for Hadron Energy Spectra, Symmetry vol. 14, art. 1807 (2022) DOI: 10.3390/sym14091807

A. Kuki, F. Járai-Szabó, A. Gergely, I. Gere, Z. Néda, S. Lipcsei, D. Ugi, PD. Ispánovity, Z. Dankházi, I. Groma, Statistical analogies between earthquakes, micro-quakes and avalanches in the 1D Burridge-Knopoff model, submitted to Geofizika (2022)


Z. Neda, T.S. Biro, G. Toth, I. Gere, Sz. Kelemen, The growth and reset model for social inequalities, 11-th Polish Symposium on Physics in Economy and Social Sciences, 01.07-03.07 2021

Z. Neda, A unified approach to wealth and income inequalities in modern societies, MECO47 (Middle European Cooperation in Statistical Physics), 12-14 June 2022, Erice, Italy

M. Józsa, M. Ercsey-Ravasz and Zs.I. Lázár, Investigating brain wiring by simple statistical models, MECO47 (Middle European Cooperation in Statistical Physics), 12-14 June 2022, Erice, Italy, PDF

Sz. Kelemen, I. Gere, T. Biro and Z. Neda, Wealth inequalities in different socio-economic situations, Exhaustive data and a general modelling framework, MECO 47 (Middle European Cooperation in Statistical Physics), 12-14 June 2022, Erice, Italy, PDF

A. Gergely, B. Sándor, Cs. Paizs, R. Tötös, Z. Néda, Oscillation and synchronization of diffusion flames in a hydrodynamic approach, MECO 47 (Middle European Cooperation in Statistical Physics), 12-14 June 2022, Erice, Italy, PDF

Z. Neda, The growth and reset dynamics in Complex Systems, BIODYNAMICS, A transdisciplinary approach - invited talk, Academia Romana si Institutul de Biodinamica, Bucuresti, 19-21 May, 2022

I. Gere, Sz. Kelemen, T.S. Biro and Z. Neda, Wealth inequality patterns based on exhaustive sampling. Data mining and modelling., Econophysics Colloqium 2022, August 24-26, 2022, Thessaloniki, online

Sz. Kelemen, M. Jozsa and Z. Neda, Estimation of the Gini coefficient from incomplete datasets., Econophysics Colloqium 2022, August 24-26, 2022, Thessaloniki, online

Images, videos, data and media

PHD News (Institute for Doctoral Studies, Babeș-Bolyai University)

» Understanding social inequalities

Video Abstract

Néda Zoltán: Social inequalities in view of a physicist (in Hungarian)

150 év: a tudás spektruma (150 years: the spectrum of knowledge)

Néda Zoltán: Social inequalities in view of a theoretical physicist (in Hungarian)


BCI database

Comprehensive databases for tree populations on the island of Barro-Colorado. The data is acknowledged for the Smithsonian Institute.

Download BCI data

Earthquake database

Earthquake datasets with time elapsed (in seconds) from an arbitrary zero event and magnitude transformed into a quanta propotional to the total dissipated energy.

Download earthquake datasets

Wealth distribution in villages

The datasets used to calculate the wealth distribution for "comuna Sancraiu", Cluj county, Romania.

Download wealth distribution datasets

Lightning database

Lightning datasets, curated from the Finnish Meteorological Instititute's weather reporting API data service for the year 2020.

Download lightning datasets