Phone +34 93 586 8521
Position CRM Principal Investigator
Group Complex Systems
Corral Cano, Alvaro

I coordinate the CRM Complex Systems Group, whose research is addressed to understand complex systems. Our approach has been diverse: theoretical, computational, experimental, and analysis of observational data. Main systems of interest are natural hazards (earthquakes, hurricanes, rain…) and communication systems (human language, music…), paying special attention to the necessary statistical tools. We have found statistical physical-like laws in several of these systems. Our results have been communicated to society through newspapers, radio, and TV.


I am very interested in the training of researchers, at the undergraduate, master, and doctoral level, having organized several summer schools in recent years.

Interested in joining the CRM Complex Systems Group? Contact me at alvaro dot corral at uab dot es

I (try to) lead the network

Researcher ID
Google Scholar​

Recent talks and courses

Fitting of power-law distributions​​

Temporal scale invariance and extreme events

Language and music: power laws, Zipf's law, scaling laws, Heaps' law, and even complex networks

Four laws of statistical seismology in fracture experiments

Branching processes, self-organization, and the statistics of natural hazards

Short course on power laws, branching processes and self-organization

In the media ​


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Other Research Interests

Natural hazards: earthquakes, hurricanes, rain, forest fires, avalanches

Complex systems, self-organized criticality, scaling, extreme events

Statistics of texts and music: Zipf's law, Heaps' law, and beyond

Fitting of power-law distributions

Selected publications

Some recent papers

New paper on finite-size scaling of word-frequency distributions (Phys. Rev. E 2017)

New paper on the non-power-law tail of earthquake size (Sci. Rep. 2017, with SI)

Paper on the statistics of avalanches in compression experiments (Phys. Rev. E 2016)

Paper on finite-size scaling in the geometric Galton-Watson process (Phys. Rev. E 2016)

Paper on similarity-based time series motifs (Expert Systems with Applications 2016)

Paper to test universality of critical exponents (Phys. Rev. E 2016)

Paper on the evolution of music

Representative papers

Statistical similarity between the compression of a porous material and earthquakes,
J. Baró, A. Corral, X. Illa, A. Planes, E. K. H. Salje, W. Schranz, D. E. Soto-Parra and E. Vives,
Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 088702 (2013).

Scaling of Tropical-Cyclone Dissipation,
A. Corral, A. Ossó, and J. E. Llebot, Nature Phys. 6, 693-696 (2010).
(with SI​)

Long-term clustering, scaling, and universality in the temporal occurrence of earthquakes,
Alvaro Corral, Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 108501 (2004).

Local distributions and rate fluctuations in a unified scaling law for earthquakes,
Alvaro Corral, Phys. Rev. E 68, 035102(R) (2003).

Tracer Dispersion in a Self-Organized Critical System,
Kim Christensen, Alvaro Corral, Vidar Frette, Jens Feder, and Torstein Jøssang, Phys. Rev. Lett. 77, 107-110 (1996). (pdf)

Self-Organized Criticality and Synchronization in a Lattice Model of Integrate-and-Fire Oscillators,
Alvaro Corral, Conrad J. Perez, Albert Diaz-Guilera, and Alex Arenas. Phys. Rev. Lett. 74, 118-121 (1995). (pdf)

Outreach papers

La ciencia dels sistemes complexos al Centre de Recerca Matematica​,
A. Corral, A. Roxin, and T. Alarcón, Noticies de la Societat Catalana de Matematiques 41, 50-57 (2017).

Las leyes matematicas emergentes en el uso del lenguaje,
A. Corral, I. Moreno-Sanchez, F. Font-Clos, ​Investigacion y Ciencia ​478, 16-17 (2016).

La cerca i la recerca de la complexitat a Catalunya:​,
A. Corral, A. Diaz-Guilera, ​Revista de Fisica ​5(2), 4-10 (2016).

Desastres naturals, multifractals i xarxes climatiques: tres exemples de complexitat a geociencia,
A. Corral, C. Masoller, A. Turiel, ​Revista de Fisica ​5(2), 11-16 (2016).

Processos de ramificació, criticitat i autoorganització: aplicació als desastres naturals,
A. Corral and F. Font-Clos, Butlletí de la Societat Catalana de Matemàtiques 29 (1), 5-49 (2014).

Leyes de escala, universalidad y renormalización en la ocurrencia de los terremotos en espacio, tiempo y tamaño,
Alvaro Corral, Revista Iberoamericana de Fisica 3(1), 55-61 (2007). (pdf, in Spanish)

Física Estadística dels Fenòmens Catastròfics,
Alvaro Corral, La Física de Cada Día, edited by David Jou i Josep Enric Llebot,
Fundació Caixa Sabadell, p. 45-67 (2007). ISBN: 978-84-95166-68-5. (in Catalan)

Popular article in Epoca about Hurricanes (in Spanish)​