The phenomenon of self-organization occurs in many areas of our life. In nature, for example, fish organize themselves to swim in well structured shoals, ants find shortest routes to food sources, and fireflies emit light flashes in perfect synchrony. Other examples of self-organized behavior can be observed in economy, population dynamics, psychology, and brain theory, to give some examples.

In all these phenomena, the participating entities establish an organizational structure or function that does not require any central coordination. Instead, entities interact directly with each other and continuously react to changes in their local environment. Typically, such self-organizing systems are flexible, adaptive, failure-robust, and scalable.

Various groups at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria, from different disciplines perform research related to self-organization in networked systems. The scientists come, for example, from computer and communication networks, organizational science, geography, and economics.