At all scales, biology presents an astounding diversity of discrete states or species, that coexist over time-scales much longer than the characteristic times of the underlying degrees of freedom. Degrees of freedom that ranges from protein to population numbers. On the sub-cellular scale, molecular competition and positive feedback acting on short time scales maintain cells in specialized states, setting the foundation for complexity of multicellular organisms. On larger scales, competition in turn selects for ecosystems where different species coexist over long intervals of time. This general pattern calls for research with a focus on diversity, and how competition can act as its ``engine". Statistical mechanics of complex systems provides a framework for studying universality of collective and cooperative phenomena, usually assuming the simplicity of identical agents.
The meeting should facilitate new initiatives in exploration of the origin and sustainability of diversity, using the methodology from physics applied to model systems from biology.