Peter Allen BSc PhD

Cranfield School of Management

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Peter Allen

Emeritus Professor


Peter Allen


  • Evolutionary complex systems
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Non-linear dynamics, chaos, change and transformation
  • Distributed learning networks

Peter founded the Complex Systems Research Centre that is now headed by Dr Liz Varga. The Centre is and has been involved in a wide range of research projects. Peter's research has demonstrated the relevance of complex systems modelling for many domains: ecology and ecological modelling; natural resource management; urban and regional systems; economic markets and the strategies of firms; for organizational structures as well as distribution and supply chains and networks. This work is continuing as there is now more understanding and demand for bottom-up, learning models for decision support of many kinds. Recent research projects include: an EPSRC funded research project with De Montfort University on creating Smart Grid models to help policies and infrastructure decisions for future energy production and distribution; and an ESRC funded joint project with Sheffield University "Modelling the Evolution of the Aerospace Supply Chain". Currently he is involved in the Falcon project with the IVHM Centre in Cranfield developing models relevant to the management of local electricity supply networks faced with growing demand for (low carbon) electricity. Another current project concerns the development of models to examine the way that multi-utility service firms may provide satisfactory levels of comfort with reduced resource demands. Peter is Editor in Chief of the journal Emergence: Complexity and Organization.

He has a PhD in Theoretical Physics, was a Royal Society European Research Fellow 1969 - 71 and a Senior Research Fellow at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles from 1972 - 1987, where he worked with Nobel Laureate, Ilya Prigogine. Since 1987 he has run two Research Centres at Cranfield University. For over 40 years Peter has been working on the mathematical modelling of change and innovation in social, economic, financial and ecological systems, and the development of integrated systems models linking the physical, ecological and socio-economic aspects of complex systems as a basis for improved decision support systems. A range of dynamic integrated models has been developed in such diverse domains as industrial networks, supply chains, river catchments, urban and regional development, fisheries and also economic and financial markets. Professor Allen has written and edited several books and published well over 200 articles in a range of fields including ecology, social science, urban and regional science, economics, systems theory, and physics. He has been a consultant to the Cambridge Econometrics, the Asian Development Bank, the Canadian Fishing Industry, Elf Aquitaine, BT, GlaxoSmithKline, DERA, DSTL, the United Nations University, and the European Commission.

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