René Doursat
 PhD, Habil.

Professor of Complex Systems & Deputy
   Head, Informatics Research Centre,
   School of Computing, Math & Digital Tech,
   Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Research Affiliate, BioEmergences Lab,
   CNRS (USR3695), Gif s/Yvette, France

Steering Committee & Fmr. Director,
   Complex Systems Institute, Paris (ISC)

Officer (Secretary), Board of Directors,
   International Society for Artificial Life



Growing Adaptive

Springer 2014

Springer 2012

Peter Lang 2011
Edited Proceedings

Artificial Life
ALife'14, ECAL'15

MITPress 2014,2015
Evolution. Comp.
GECCO'12, '13

ACM 2012,2013
Artificial Life

MITPress 2011
Swarm Intell.

Springer 2010
IT Revolutions

Springer 2009

Home Page
   • Manchester Met
   • Ecole Polytechnique
   • Catholic University
   • Complex Systems
   • University of Nevada
   • Other Teaching
   • Competencies
   • Thesis Supervision
Activities, Grants
Education, Career

My main original course, which I first designed at the University of Nevada, Reno, explores canonical examples of complex systems through agent-based modeling and numerical simulation. I taught it for several years, most recently at the European Erasmus Mundus Master's in Complex Systems Science (2010-2015), which I co-founded and coordinated in its beginnings at Ecole Polytechnique, Paris. I also co-organized a series of graduate seminars on cognitive and neural science at the same institution. In addition, I led the annual Summer School at the Complex Systems Institute in Paris four years in a row, and taught 12 course semesters in American universities (UNR and CUA). I have (co)supervised the thesis and research of 26 postdocs, PhD and MSc students.
Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK
School of Computing, Mathematics & Digital Technology
Professor, 2016-Present
  • 6G5Z1105: Computer Networks & Operating Systems (Fall 2016)

    I am one of three lab instructors for this unit. It provides an introduction to computer networks, operating systems theory and practice: O/S structure and organisation, processes, CPU scheduling, threads, concurrency, deadlock, memory management, virtual memory, file system, I/O, disk, security. More →

    freshman year ("Level 4"), 50 students (150 total), 12 weeks / semester, 4h (12h total) / week

Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France
Guest Lecturer ("Chargé d'enseignement"), 2009-2015
  • HSS 512F: Brain and Cognition (Neuroscience Seminars) (Fall 2010, Fall 2009)

    I co-led with Pr. Yves Frégnac a series of 12 seminars given by prominent invited neural and cognitive scientists (including Jean-Pierre Changeux), on the multiscale neural basis of cognition: from the microscopic level (molecular, genetic and cellular foundations, individual neuron physiology) to the mesoscopic level (computational neuroscience, electrophysiology, complex neural dynamics, neural network modeling) and macroscopic level (cognitive neuroscience, functional imaging, phenomenology, social cognition). After a 1-hour seminar given by the guest researcher, a group of 2-3 students presented a review of selected scientific articles relevant to the seminar's topic. I organized the entire program of invited talks, the distribution of students into groups, co-moderated the sessions with Pr. Frégnac and the guest speaker (comments, questions), closely followed students' preparation and progress by email, and gave one lecture myself. More →

    3rd year of engineering degree (= 1st MSc year), 2 semesters, 35 students, 12 weeks / sem, 2h / week

    Session 1: Introduction
    Session 11: Complex neurodynamics

Master's in Complex Systems Science
Co-Founder & Coordinator, 2008-2011
The Catholic University of America (CUA), Washington DC, USA
School of Engineering
Adjunct Faculty, 2013-2014
  • ENGR 520: Math Analysis for Graduate Students (Summer 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2013)

    The objective of this course is to provide an introduction to the mathematical methods that will be needed in subsequent graduate-level courses in engineering. Emphasis is placed on understanding the concepts for solving first- and second-order differential equations as opposed to extracting an answer from a math package such as Mathematica or MATLAB. More →

    graduate level ("M1/M2"), 10-15 students, 16 weeks / semester, 2h30 / week

    Course presentation
    First-order ODEs
    Second-order ODEs

  • ENGR 503: Control Systems (Fall 2013)

    This course covers concepts related to classical system analysis and control theory, beginning with system modeling and analysis, and concluding with control design. Since most engineering disciplines take this class, we review electrical, mechanical, and biomedical systems. More →

    senior year ("4e annee, L3/M1"), 30 students, 16 weeks / semester, 2h30 / week

  • CSC 306: Introduction to Operating Systems (Spring 2014)

    Intended for computer science students and others who want an in-depth introduction to the fundamental principles, components, and design of modern operating systems, with a focus on the UNIX platform. Topics include: the evolution and major types of O/S, system calls, processes and threads, concurrency and deadlocks, virtual and real memory management, CPU scheduling, input/output and disk management, file system, performance issues, and possible case studies.

    junior year ("3e annee, L3"), 10 students, 16 weeks / semester, 2h30 / week

  • CSC 223: Object-Oriented Programming with Java (Fall 2013)

    A course for computer science major students, continuation of CSC 123: C/C++ Programming. The focus is on fundamental object-oriented concepts and basic constructs of the Java programming language. Hands-on coding is an essential part of this course to understand the concepts and prepare for the next levels of the CS curriculum. Java is one of today's most popular programming languages and an essential tool for computer science students in their future endeavors. More →

    sophomore year ("2e année, L2"), 20 students, 16 weeks / semester, 2h30 / week

Complex Systems Institute Paris Ile-de-France, Paris, France
Annual French Complex Systems Summer School
Lead Organizer, 2009, 2008 - Co-Organizer, 2010 - Coordinator, 2007 - Instructor, 2007-2011
University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), Reno NV, USA
Department of Computer Science
Visiting / Research Assistant Professor, 2004–2006

freshmen, seniors and graduates, 6 semesters, 110 students total, 16 weeks / semester, 2h30 / week
Created over 1,000 original PowerPoint slides, many of which are now used by other instructors.

Other Teaching
Guest Lecturer, 2003-Present

Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany — Graduate Seminars in Cognitive Science
Lecturer, 1992, 1993

Organized and conducted credit seminar courses for graduate students (in German), including lectures and student presentations. Developed courses, selected literature, facilitated discussions:

  • Language and Connectionism (Spring 1993)

    Analysis of the formal vs. dynamical systems debate in cognitive science (i.e., rule-based AI vs. example-based neural networks) from a linguistic perspective.

  • Learning in Artificial and Natural Systems (Spring 1992; co-organizer)

    Overview of learning processes, theories and methods in psychology, animal behavior, neurophysiology and neural networks.

Ecole Supérieure de Physique et Chimie, Paris — Neural Networks for Engineers & Researchers
Training Instructor, 1989, 1990

Teaching Competencies & Interests
Open-ended summary list of domains I have taught or can teach:

Computer science (see also Industry)

  • Core topics: theory and practice of programming languages (object-oriented, procedural, declarative; Java, C/C++, etc.), data structures, algorithms, automata, compilers, operating systems, GUIs, etc.

  • Distributed systems: object distribution and component/middleware frameworks (J2EE, CORBA, Messaging, etc.), Web technologies, application servers, TCP/IP networking, database systems

  • Software engineering: object-oriented methodology, design patterns, software architecture

Research & seminar topics (see also Research Topics)

  • Complex systems, biological modeling & bio-inspired engineering: multi-agent systems, agent-based modeling, cellular automata, artificial life, pattern formation, image processing, morphogenesis, swarm intelligence, genetic algorithms, evolutionary computation, complex networks

  • Computational cognitive science: computational neuroscience, artificial & spiking neural networks, neurobiological modeling, cognitive linguistics, pattern recognition, machine learning, computer vision

Undergraduate mathematics & physics

Thesis & Research Supervision — Postdocs, PhD and MSc Students
adv = main advisor: I proposed or guided research topics and supervised the work
co-adv = co-advisor: I contributed to existing topics and co-supervised the work


PhD students

Master's students

PhD reviews & juries only

  • Richard Malgat, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon, France: Reviewer, 9/2015 (adv: A. Boudaoud)
    • Mechanical Modeling of Three-dimensional Plant Tissue
  • Latifa Jackson, Drexel University, Philadelphia, US: Committee & Jury Examiner, 8/2014 (adv: A. Tözeren)
    • Addiction, mental health, infectious disease: Understanding their interplay in human populations
  • Francis Jeanson, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada: Reviewer, 1/2014 (adv: Tony White)
    • Neural coding via transmission delay coincidence detectors: An embodied approach
  • Anaïs Soubeyran, Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris 4), France: Reviewer, 12/2012 (adv: Daniel Andler)
    • Emergence and mind-body problem: Towards a characterization of the contemporary notion of emergence and its application in cognitive science
  • Régis Martinez, Université Lumière Lyon 2, France: Reviewer, 9/2011 (adv: Hélène Paugam-Moisy)
    • Dynamics of cognitive and complex systems: The role of delays in information transmission
  • David Colliaux, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris: Reviewer, 5/2011 (adv: Jean Petitot, Yves Frégnac)
    • Classes of neuronal dynamics and experience dependent structured correlations in a visual cortex
  • Kristen Manac'h, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, France: Jury Examiner, 1/2011 (adv: Pierre De Loor)
    • Towards the notion of "enactive" virtual agent: Application to a dynamic evolutionary approach
  • Daniel Lobo, Universidad de Málaga, Spain: Jury Examiner, 11/2010 (adv: Francisco Vico)
    • Evolutionary development based on genetic regulatory models for behavior-finding (generative systems based on string grammars)
  • Sylvain Cussat-Blanc, Université Toulouse 1, France: Jury Examiner & Chair, 11/2009 (adv: Yves Duthen)
    • Artificial creatures: The development of organisms from a single cell
  • Heike Sichtig, Binghamton University SUNY: Committee & Jury Examiner, 4/2009 (adv: Craig Laramee)
    • The SGE paradigm: Exploring information processing in biological systems using spiking neural networks (S), a genetic algorithm (G) and expert knowledge (E)