We have switched off the lights.

Basically, the group has CCEES'd to exist :)
This web page reflects the state of the group in 2020. For more information, please drop us an e-mail.
TS-CCEES Group, Late 2021

Environmental systems are often exceedingly complicated – highly nonlinear, operating in and creating multiscale heterogeneous structures, and stochastically forced. So far, we typically lack a comprehensive representation of them and approach them along different routes. Three of these form the basis of our group's teaching efforts:

  1. focus on processes,
  2. focus on high-performance numerical methods, and
  3. focus on self-organization.

Operationally, traditional mathematics only reaches to the most simple systems. Hence, essential tools for us are numerical methods, those with numerical mathematics as their solid basis as well as the more heuristic approaches like cellular automata or agent-based simulations.

PoTS - Physics of Terrestrial Systems

(4 CP course in Masters curriculum, offered in winter term)


Soil hydrology, from physical processes and soil architecture to numerical simulation and data assimilation.

Key Aspects

  • physical processes at scales of soil pore, continuum, and field
  • multi-scale heterogeneities and complicated boundaries
  • numerical forward simulation, inversion, and data assimilation
  • simulation projects


  • physics of fluids in porous media
  • scale transitions and soil water flow
  • numerical simulation of partial differential equations
  • inversion, data assimilation, and knowledge fusion
  • architecture of near-surface geologic formations (aquifers and soils)
  • soil hydrology project (modeling, num. sim., analysis)
  • representation of vegetation
  • arid land project (modeling, num. sim., analysis)


FunCEP – Fundamentals of Computational Environmental Physics

(8 CP course in Masters curriculum, offered jointly with Prof. Bastian, IWR, in winter term)


Numerical solution of hard and large problems, illustrated with various environmental processes.

Key Aspects

  • formulation of models for different classes of processes (different types of PDEs)
  • setup of appropriate numerical schemes
  • operationally run and analyze large numerical simulations


  • groundwater flow and scalar transport in heterogeneous 2- and 3-dimensional domains
  • active transport (density- and viscosity-driven flow)
  • fluid flow (turbulence)


CCEES – Chaotic, Complex, and Evolving Environmental Systems

(special and last instance of this course, offered in winter term 2020/21 in Masters curriculum, 5 CP)


  • embedding
    • our environment – System Earth
    • nonlinear dynamical systems, stability, bifurcation
  • chaos
    • chaotic physical systems (pendulum, active transport)
    • discrete and continuous chaotic systems (logistic map, L63 system)
  • complexity
    • illustrations from geomorphology
    • discrete complex systems (cellular automata)
    • pattern formation and dynamics
    • population dynamics (agent based models)
  • evolution
    • Great Unfolding – from the Big Bang to humankind
    • elements of evolution mechanics
    • cultural evolution

Format & Organization

This course has been transferred to an online format and can be done asynchronously. There is a weekly synchronous questions & answer session, however.


The course is open for students of Heidelberg University and for students from other universities that are enrolled in an MSc- or PhD-program at their home university.

Registration and further information: email with credentials (program enrolled, student identification number) to kurt.roth@iup.uni-heidelberg.de.

Course elements


The lectures are uni-directional with no possibility for questions and comments. They consist of 4…6 short videos of slide presentations per week.

The lecture follows the CCEES Lecture Notes quite closely. They are provided in pdf-format and you may wish to have them ready for quick annotations.

Q & A (Mon 17:15-18:00)

Each week, a fixed hour is allocated for questions, answers, and discussions of the material of the past week. This is an essential part of the lecture and demands that you have worked through the material of the previous week.

Active attendance in >50% of these meetings is mandatory for gaining the 5 CP. This is also the prerequisite for taking the optional final exam.

Support material (password required)

All the material is provided exclusively for students enrolled in the course. You are not allowed to share any part of it in any way with other persons.

  • CCEES Lecture Notes v0.6
  • slides in pdf format for convenient annotation
  • set of videos covering the entire lecture


If you need a grade, an oral exam will be required, which again will be online.

Technical requirements

The lecture requires a reasonably fast internet connection, a browser to display the videos, and a pdf-reader for the slides and lecture notes.

For an active participation, a microphone is required – test it before – and a webcam may be useful.


MSc CCEES seminar

(6 CP seminar in Masters curriculum)

BSc CCEES seminar

(3 CP seminar in Bachelors curriculum, offered irregularly)

Special topic from the field of CCEES with focus varying between years. In German.

  • WS15/16: Komplexe terrestrische Systeme

FP - advanced practical

  • F59: Active Solute Transport in Saturated Porous Media