### How many stable equilibria will a large complex system have?

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## Abstract

In 1972 Robert May argued that (generic) complex systems become unstable to small displacements from equilibria as the system complexity increases. His analytical model and outlook was linear. I will talk about a “minimal” non-linear extension of May’s model – a nonlinear autonomous system of N ≫ 1 degrees of freedom randomly coupled by both relaxational (’gradient’) and non-relaxational (’solenoidal’) random interactions. With the increasing interaction strength such systems undergo an abrupt transition from a trivial phase portrait with a single stable equilibrium into a topologically non-trivial regime where equilibria are on average exponentially abundant, but typically all of them are unstable, unless the dynamics is purely gradient. When the interaction strength increases even further the stable equilibria eventually become on average exponentially abundant unless the interaction is purely solenoidal. One can investigate these transitions with the help of the Kac-Rice formula for counting zeros of random functions and theory of random matrices applied to the real elliptic ensemble with some of the mathematical problems remaining open. This talk is based on collaborative work with Gerard Ben Arous and Yan Fyodorov.