In the sprawling high-desert landscape between Santa Fe and Eldorado, nine of SFI’s postdocs gathered in late May at a quiet rental for 72 Hours of Science — an intense annual three-day retreat of community-building, creativity, and mad-dash research.
Prediction is a key part of complex systems, in a wide variety of fields. Physicists and mathematicians use prediction performance to evaluate their models of mechanical systems; engineering prediction algorithms can inform the design of complicated devices. Prediction is also integral in artificial intelligence, in large language models like ChatGPT, which are designed to predict a word or words that follow from a prompt. A July 10–14 workshop at SFI called “Sensory Prediction: Engineered and Evolved” met to discuss how to build better models of prediction in living organisms.
The Santa Fe Institute’s Board of Trustees welcomed Dan Tierney as a new member during the May 2023 Science Board & Board of Trustees Symposium. Tierney, an investor and the founder of Wicklow Capital, describes himself as a systems thinker, innately drawn to interdisciplinary approaches and innovation.
SFI External Professor France Córdova received an honorary doctorate from Yale University during its 2023 commencement ceremony in May. Granted the degree of Doctor of Science, Córdova was one of nine honorary graduates.
SFI's David Wolpert's No-free-lunch theorems have stirred up many opinions over the past few decades. Wolpert chimes in on the conversation in a new piece in the Journal for General Philosophy of Science.
James Hartle, External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute and Professor of Physics Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, passed away on May 17 in Switzerland at the age of 83. A longtime familiar face at SFI, Jim offered profound insights into conversations in a characteristically gentle manner. He will be missed immensely.
Registration for virtual participation in SFI’s three-day Collective Intelligence Symposium & Short Course (CISSC) is now open. With a sold-out in-person event, organizers are offering live streaming and virtual access to posters for remote participants. The $100 online-only registration fee also provides lifetime access to video recordings of the meeting. Seats via Zoom are limited. Interested participants are encouraged to register soon.
Study: Balancing economic and epidemiological interventions in the early stages of pathogen emergence
A new study in Science Advances proposes a model for examining the interplay of epidemiology and economics that could give policymakers guidelines when we face novel outbreaks in the future.
Is human reproduction exceptionally egalitarian compared to other mammals, or do we have high "reproductive skew"? It's a question that a team of more than 100 researchers tackled in a recent paper published in PNAS. Their finding? “Human exceptionalism has been greatly exaggerated,” says SFI External Professor Monique Borgerhoff Mulder (UC Davis).
James Pelkey, former member of the SFI Board of Trustees, passed away on February 16, 2023, at the age of 77 in Maui, Hawaii. A committed supporter of the research carried out at SFI, Pelkey served on SFI’s Board of Trustees for a decade, and became the Chair of the Board from 1990-1992.
SFI Science Board member and External Professor Lauren Ancel Meyers and colleagues organized a May 17-18 workshop to reimagine how pandemic simulation games can help us prepare for the superbugs of the future, bringing together epidemiologists; military war game specialists; officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and experts in human behavior, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence.
AI and the Barrier of Meaning 2, a workshop held at the Santa Fe Institute on April 24–26, brought together experts working in AI, cognitive science, philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, neuroscience, and law. Videos of the talks from the workshop are now available on YouTube. Similar to the first AI and the Barrier of Meaning workshop, held in 2018, the event focused on questions related to “understanding” and what it means to “extract meaning” in a humanlike way.
Information architectures — the rules and norms that govern the spread of information — likely serve a dominant force in shaping society. A May 9–11 workshop met to explore a host of emerging questions around information architectures and their impact on our lives.
Human innovations often arise "ahead of their time," but evolution, we’re told, innovates only in response to environmental conditions. In his new book, Sleeping Beauties: The Mystery of Dormant Innovations in Nature and Culture, SFI External Professor Andreas Wagner urges us to consider another possibility. “What if,” he asks, “many innovations arise before their time,” in nature just as in human culture?
In a new paper in PNAS, Eric Libby, Christopher Kempes, and Jordan Okie take a quantitative approach to begin tackling one of the great mysteries of biology: how eukaryotes arose.
Understanding higher-order interactions — phenomena that involve three or more entities — can be tricky, says SFI Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow Yuanzhao Zhang. In a new paper in Nature Communications, Zhang and his colleagues show how the choice of network representation can influence the observed effects.