Meeting Summary: Virtually every discipline deals with interacting components. Whether we are discussing topics in ecology, evolution, genetics, neurobiology, chemistry, economics or sociology, understanding how multiple components interact is critical. There is increasing evidence across fields that the interactions between multiple components cannot be always decomposed as simple combinations of the interactions between pairs, as it happens in physics.
Not only does each field or sub-field have its own terminologies and methods, there are fundamental questions about multiple interactions that have not been addressed in any of the fields. These questions revolve around the idea of emergent properties: where higher-order interactions yield a surprising behavior or result, and is surprising based on what is known or understood about the lower-order interactions. Essentially, we ask if the whole is different for the sum of the parts, and if so, in what way is it different? What additional data would we need in order to make predictions?