Opening Keynote Speaker Announced for COFES 2017

This year at COFES 2017, attendees will take a deep dive into Complexity and Transformation. The growth of complexity is presenting businesses with new and difficult challenges — from the constantly changing business environment to conflicting requirements of more complex products that must be delivered more simply to the customer. New phenomena result from complexity, often requiring consideration of things that were not previously an issue. Rather than focus on how to design complex systems from scratch, COFES 2017 will challenge attendees to focus on interventions that can transform existing systems to mitigate the effects of complexity.

In her keynote “An Introduction to Complexity” Mitchell will take participants on a tour of the sciences of complexity, a broad set of efforts that seek to explain how large-scale complex, organized, and adaptive behavior can emerge from simple interactions among a myriad of individual components. Based on her work at the Santa Fe Institute, Mitchell brings clarity to the workings of complexity across a broad range of biological, technological, and social phenomena.

“The sciences of complexity have forced us to reexamine long-held assumptions about the way the world works, in disciplines ranging from genetics to economics, from insect colonies to human social networks,” Mitchell explains. “My talk will explore some of the important lessons we have learned from complex systems thinking.”

“Your first encounter with the emerging science of complexity will alter your world view,” said Michael Tardif, managing partner, Building Informatics. “Melanie Mitchell and her peers are only the second generation of scientists to undertake the daunting task of understanding the world as it is, rather than trying to fit it into predefined theorems. One day, the history of science will be taught as B.C. (before complexity) and A.C. (after complexity). Dr. Mitchell’s COFES 2017 keynote is your chance to bear witness to and become a part of this seminal moment in the history of science.” (Building Informatics empowers building owners to optimize the financial and operational performance of their real property assets throughout their lifecycle).

“Melanie Mitchell is an intellectual leader in the field of complex adaptive systems and one of the most effective communicators of complex systems ideas to scientists, engineers, and the public at large, said C. C. Wood, External Professor, former vice president Santa Fe Institute. “Melanie is the prize-winning author of ‘Complexity: A Guided Tour’ (Oxford, 2009) and a gifted teacher, having founded and led the Santa Fe Institute’s ‘Complexity Explorer’ series of online courses. Like it or not, increasing complexity in the systems we engineer, build, and sell is a fact of modern technological life, and COFES attendees will benefit significantly from Melanie’s perspectives.” (The Santa Fe Institute is the world headquarters for complexity science, operated as an independent, not-for-profit research and education center located in Santa Fe, New Mexico).

“We live in a complex world, but our brains are wired for simplicity, said Brad Holtz, president and CEO of Cyon Research Corp. “When confronted with logarithmic growth, we are constantly surprised because our innate expectation that the world follows linear projections consistently leads us to the wrong conclusions. Similarly, the complexness and interconnectivity of our world continues to baffle us. Melanie’s talk will help us understand not just why, but also how to think. Which is what COFES is all about.”


Now in its 18th year, COFES is the annual, invitation-only event for the design and engineering software industry. Widely recognized as a think-tank event, COFES ( gathers design and engineering software leaders (vendors, users, press, and analysts) together to discuss the role engineering technology will play in the future survival and success of business. COFES is renowned for hosting leading keynote visionaries that provide a new perspective to the future of the industry. The by-invitation-only COFES is a Cyon Research event.

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About Cyon Research

Cyon Research Corporation is a think-tank providing key information, research, analysis, and consulting to its clients worldwide. COFES (The Congress on the Future of Engineering Software) and ASSESS (Analysis, Simulation, and Systems Engineering Software Strategies) are Cyon Research’s primary events.

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