Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


The main objective is to understand the nature of complex systems. The course provides tools to measure, analyse, and understand the extremely complex ecosystem of communications in which technical, social and economic aspects are intermixed in a dynamic way.

Credits: 5

Schedule: 26.10.2020 - 07.12.2020

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Heikki Hämmäinen, Matti Kilkki

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Heikki Hämmäinen, Matti Kilkki

Contact information for the course (valid 02.10.2020-21.12.2112):

If you have any questions about the course, please contact me by e-mail

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The main topics are:
    1) The complexity of simple, chaotic and extremely complex systems.
    2) System interventions and the metrics used to measure the success of the interventions.
    3) The role of human behavior and Quality of Experience in communication ecosystems.
    4) Value of services, willingness to pay and the long tail model.
    5) Prisoners dilemma and tragedy of commons, selfish and co-operative strategies in the context of communications networks and services.
    6) Zero-sum games and the mixed strategy with real-life applications.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    The course will be organized online (without any face-to-face events).

    The patterns to be learned during this course are (with a fundamental question):

    1. Mental model  …  Is everything hallucination?
    2. Automaticity of being  …  Are we (almost) machines?
    3. Fundamental Attribution Error  …  Can we avoid inherent biases?
    4. Bad is stronger than good  …  But why?
    5. Metrics  …  What is (truly) important?
    6. Prisoner’s dilemma  …  Is selfish behavior rational?
    7. Mixed strategy  …  Can we behave randomly?
    8. Network effect    …  How dependent are we on others?
    9. Butterfly effect   …  Can we make exact predictions?
    10. Long tail  …  Why is popularity so unequal?
    11. Bubbles   …  Are economic bubbles inevitable?
    12. Tragedy of Commons  …  What is the future of humankind?

    For more information, see the material section of this MyCourses page.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Examination, Assignments.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    There will be

    * five personal assignments (2 - 5 points)

    * two assignments made in small groups (5 points each)

    * two group work (with a report and presentation) (15 points each)

    * exam (max 30 points)

    You can collect points from all these tasks, at the maximum you can get about 100 points

    Your grade will be based on the number of points you have collected during the course.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Contact hrs 67 h
    Independent study 60 h

  • Applies in this implementation:

    This autumn we must organize this in an online format.

    There will be 12 x 2 hours "lectures" through Zoom, from 26.10 to 4.12.
    However, most of the "lectures" include some activities in the form of assignments and games.

    The assumption for time consumed with the two group works is 15 hours (each).

    Some of the games continue from Monday to Friday, with the expected time consumption of 2 hours each. 

    Reading the available material (+ other material that is relatively easy to find from net) may take something like 30 hours.


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    K. Kilkki (2012), An Introduction to Communications Ecosystems (partly), available at

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Material includes

    1) Text material (about 90 pages, including a dictionary)
        (based partly on the Ecosystems book, Kilkki 2012).

    2) Slides (about 120)

    3) Excel tools for some of the patterns (maybe 6)

Substitutes for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:


Registration for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:


  • Applies in this implementation:

    This course does not have any specific pre-requirements.

    Though the title includes "communications ecosystems", most of the material and topics are totally generic. Most of the patterns are applicable in all imaginable cases in which humans are interacting with each other or with any technology or commercial product.

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    3 Good Health and Well-being


Details on the schedule
  • Applies in this implementation:

    See slide 5 in the introduction slide-set available in the material section.