Academic and Institutional Leadership

The founder and head of the interuniversity chair in Fluid Dynamical Systems is Rui Alexandre Pita Perdigão, also Chair Professor in Physics of Complex Systems and Climate Dynamics, Head of the Meteoceanics Institute for Complex System Science and Director of the associated Doctoral School, headquartered in Vienna, Austria, and with presences across Europe and North America, articulated through the recently established North Atlantic Climate Centre that he also chairs.

Moreover, Rui Perdigão also serves as Editor in international journals including Earth System Dynamics (European Geosciences Union), Section Editor-in-Chief for Weather, Events and Impacts at Climate, Associated Editor for Interdisciplinary Physics at Frontiers in Physics, and sits at scientific councils and advisory panels from diverse international research and funding institutions.

More recently (2020), Rui Perdigão was elected corresponding member of the prestigious Academy of Sciences in Lisbon, thereby joining the class of Sciences, section of Physics.

University Teaching

For several years, Rui Perdigão has been designing, coordinating and delivering various university courses along with international courses, seminars and workshops. Some of his most relevant courses are linked to his inter university chair and listed at the Meteoceanics Doctoral School here.

Moreover, he collaborates with the Doctoral Program on Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies, an interdisciplinary doctorate promoted primarily by the University of Lisbon and the New University of Lisbon.  There, he coordinates and delivers some of his courses on Complex System Dynamics and on Interdisciplinary Data Analytics and Model Design, which he tailored to a broad audience beyond the natural and exact science frontiers, being deployed not only to engineering and natural science students but also to those coming from social sciences, economics and management. Moreover, he is involved in doctoral thesis supervision, coordinating doctoral research in interdisciplinary problems spanning climate system dynamics and socio-environmental complexity.

Scientific Alliances

Rui Perdigão chairs the international alliance for Quantum Information Technologies in the Earth Sciences (QITES) and also the NORA Research Alliance (the latter with co-coordinator Julia Hall).

Across the Earth System sciences, Rui Perdigão has taken part in various initiatives, most notably at the core team of the “Flood Change” consortium, headquartered at TU Wien, Vienna, Austria, and funded by the European Research Council.  There, he has served as the Earth System Dynamics representative, responsible for the development of mathematical physics methods for deciphering coevolutionary hydro-climate dynamics and river flood changes in the light of complex Earth System interactions.  The collaborative effort resulted in the development of decision support products and in high-impact team publications, including in Science and in Nature.

In recent years Rui Perdigão has also been scientific council member of the Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (CE3C) from the University of Lisbon, as research group leader for Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Modelling.

Rui Perdigão has also established collaborations on Physics of Information with the Instituto de Telecomunicações and the Centre for Physics and Engineering of Advanced Materials at Instituto Superior Técnico from the University of Lisbon.  There, he pursues theoretical studies on the physical nature of information, the informational nature of physics, along with conceiving quantum information systems for addressing complex mathematical challenges beyond the realms of traditional quantum theory.  At a methodological level, he develops novel techniques for data exploration and model design of complex systems, and at a practical level he investigates new techniques for quantum technological sensing of environmental phenomena.

Scientific Background and Flow

Rui Perdigão holds a Doctorate in Physics with the highest honours. He has since then conducted independent and collaborative research on mathematical physics, predictability and uncertainty dynamics, from conceptual and methodological research to applications to information physics and fluid dynamical problems in natural sciences and engineering. He has also conducted R&D for large-scale international consortia, including the EU/ESA Copernicus Programme and the North Atlantic Alliance.

At a fundamental level, the research conducted by Rui Perdigão focuses on theoretical and methodological developments towards a novel theoretical physics paradigm bringing fundamental physical understanding to nonlinear dynamics and information theory. One of the core efforts in this regard has been the establishment of a nonlinear synergistic dynamic theory of complex coevolutionary systems, unveiling fundamental physical principles and canonic forms bringing complexity to its simplest yet fully generative form.

Rui’s theoretical advances are now being implemented in generalised fluid dynamical systems and complex coevolutionary systems to address fundamental physics problems ranging across scales from quantum gravitation to coevolutionary earth system dynamics and thermodynamic cosmology.  His research monographs, textbooks and courses share the most recent progress in these efforts and provide a unified framework bridging across the quantum-classical divide – with more to come.

With fluid dynamical system applications in mind relevant e.g. to the emergence of extreme events in climate dynamics, Rui Perdigão has developed a mathematical physics theory linking interaction information signatures in multiscale geophysical fluid dynamics with underlying mechanisms grounded on nonlinear scale interactions and synergistic emergence in wave mechanics and fluid flow.

In doing so, Rui Perdigão’s advances have brought out novel atmospheric insights on triadic wave resonance among planetary, synoptic and mesoscale waves in fundamental fluid dynamic terms, explaining observed information-theoretical and nonlinear signatures of emergence, and shedding further light on elusive emergent behaviours in multiscale atmospheric flow, e.g. behind far from equilibrium transient dynamics behind “extreme” meteorological phenomena.

More recently, Rui Perdigão has introduced a non-ergodic coevolutionary theory of information physics, generalising information theory to the realm of far-from-equilibrium statistical mechanics, where there is event codependence and the traditional information theoretical measures do not hold. His novel measures unveil and quantify elusive sources of synergistic and coevolutionary predictability beyond post-critical spatiotemporal memory loss, long after nonlinear multi-information fades away. The collapse of dynamic regimes and nonlinear memory in far-from-equilibrium non-ergodic dynamics is thus no longer an obstacle for system understanding and prediction.

The theoretical advances from Rui Pita Perdigão are now shedding light onto fundamental problems ranging across scales from evolutionary open quantum systems to coevolutionary earth system dynamics and thermodynamic cosmology, peering into the fundamental Physics of Evolutionary Complexity, and also shedding new light into Synergistic Dynamic Causation and Prediction in Coevolutionary Spacetimes.

Most of Rui Perdigão’s advances in Nonlinear Dynamics and Analytics have remained proprietary in Meteoceanics, securing a leading edge in providing decision support to institutions dealing with critical security challenges protecting the society and the environment. Even so, some of his work is publicly available through his journal publications, academic courses and research monographs. These provide an overview of his most recent and ongoing original fundamental advances in mathematical physics, information physics and coevolutionary complexity, along with innovative methodological and technological developments – ranging from deep learning and artificial intelligence to quantum technologies – for empowering data analytics, modelling and decisions support to tackle critical challenges faced by our society and the environment.

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