Melanie Mitchell’s life changed on the New York City subway. During her post-college stint as a high-school math teacher in Manhattan, every subway ride was an opportunity to conquer a few more pages of Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach. Reading it, she became fascinated with the way math, art, and music could help explain the emergent properties of intelligence. She realized she wanted to work with Hofstadter and become an AI researcher.
In 2011, Sean Carroll was sipping coffee on a boat traveling between Bergen, Norway, and Copenhagen, when it occurred to him that there was no better model for how life emerged from chaos than his favorite hot drink. Or, as he put it later, “why complexity increases with time and then decreases — in contrast to entropy, which increases monotonically.” The boat was hosting FQXi’s physicist conference, and when the theoretical computational scientist Scott Aaronson, who was on board, heard Carroll’s question, he fell in love with what he called Carroll’s beautiful idea.
Complexity Explorer unveils a brand-new course on the many faces of computational complexity, with SFI Professor Cris Moore. The content is appropriate for learners from any background (and no mathematical heavy lifting required).
In a new perspective piece in Nature, SFI researchers and their collaborators argue that social scientists can gather highly accurate information about social trends and groups by asking about a person’s social circle rather than interrogating their own individual beliefs.
In a paper published in Nature Communications, incoming SFI Postdoctoral Fellow Yuanzhao Zhang and former SFI external faculty member Steve Strogatz report using temporal network models to show that allowing connection patterns to change over time makes it possible to synchronize a system more efficiently.
Communication technology, study of collective behavior must be ‘crisis discipline,’ researchers argue
A team of researchers that includes SFI's Albert Kao and Mirta Galesic says that the study of collective behavior must rise to a “crisis discipline,” just like medicine, conservation, and climate science, according to a new perspective piece published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A new paper in the journal Cognition examines the visual complexity of written language and how that complexity has evolved.
SFI Professor Cristopher Moore collaborated with the Santa Fe Symphony to create a series designed to show young learners how music and science come together to enrich human experience. And for both viewers and participants, the result is pure joy.
The first meeting of the Junior Women’s Caucus in Stochastic Thermodynamics aims to give participants the opportunities many early-career researchers find most helpful, such as networking, journal-reading, tutorials, and access to senior academics in the field.
Joshua Grochow receives the National Science Foundation's most prestigious grant for junior faculty members, which will fund the next five years of his research.
Citizen opposition to COVID-19 vaccination has emerged across the globe, prompting pushes for mandatory vaccination policies. But a new study based on evidence from Germany and on a model of the dynamic nature of people’s resistance to COVID-19 vaccination sounds an alarm: mandating vaccination could have a substantial negative impact on voluntary compliance.
In network science, the famous "friendship paradox" describes why your friends are (on average) more popular, richer, and more attractive than you are. But a slightly more nuanced picture emerges when we apply mathematics to real-world data.
New research published in Nature provides a powerful yet surprisingly simple way to determine the number of visitors to any location in a city.
In groundbreaking work, a team led by SFI Professor Chris Kempes has developed a new ecological biosignature that could help scientists detect life in vastly different environments. Their work appears as part of a special issue of the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology collected in honor of renowned mathematical biologist James D. Murray.
Research brief: How the pandemic exploited socioeconomic disparities in Santiago, Chile and other cities
COVID-19 hit the world’s cities especially hard, and some of the worst suffering occurred in economically depressed neighborhoods. In Santiago, Chile, for example, low-income people were more likely to contract and die from the disease than residents in other parts of the capital city, according to new research published in the journal Science.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus around the world is a grim reminder of the importance of inter-governmental cooperation — and the consequences of trying to go it alone. A new paper published in PNAS and co-authored by SFI external professor Matthew Jackson found that infection rates from diseases like COVID-19 can be decreased if nations, states, and cities develop proactive policies that allow them to act fast to contain a crisis.
In a commentary this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, SFI colleagues Simon DeDeo and Elizabeth Hobson* discuss the science of social hierarchy — what rank is, what it does, and where it comes from.