The COVID-19 pandemic offers an opportunity to out-evolve the virus by evolving our own scientific ingenuity and social practices.
External Professor Emeritus Constantino Tsallis and his colleague describe a single function that accurately describes all existing available data on active COVID-19 cases and deaths—and aims to predict forthcoming peaks.
Launched in early April, the online “Complexity of COVID-19” course is a resource for families and communities to think through the broad-reaching consequences of this pandemic in real time.
SFI has always prided itself on its ability to bring together top scientists from around the world. Traditionally, they've met in the same room, with catered meals and coffee on tap. Now, in an effort to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, SFI’s faculty, postdocs, and staff are making the most of remote work.
When disease modelers map the spread of viruses like the novel coronavirus, Ebola, or the flu, they traditionally treat them as isolated pathogens. Under these so-called “simple” dynamics, it’s generally accepted that the forecasted size of the affected population will be proportional to the rate of transmission. But according to former SFI postdoc Laurent Hébert-Dufresne at the University of Vermont and his co-authors Samuel Scarpino at Northeastern University, a former Omidyar Fellow, and Jean-Gabriel Young at the University of Michigan, the presence of even one more contagion in the population can dramatically shift the dynamics from simple to complex.
In the field of computer science, recent advances in machine learning have begun to produce tools that could be used to mine the vast trove of communiqués in cyberspace that hold patterns that can provide rich insights into how our minds work. An SFI working group, which met online in April, brought together psychologists and computer scientists to explore how the two fields can collaborate.
For students who participate in SFI’s Undergraduate Complexity Research program, the 10-week residential opportunity not only develops their research skills, it opens their minds to new concepts and builds lasting relationships. We recently caught up with two students who attended the 2019 session.
In his recent op-ed at The Hill, External Professor Rajiv Sethi explains that protecting life is essential to protecting livelihoods: the only sustainable way to protect economic livelihood is to ensure that re-entry into economic life is, and remains, non-life-threatening.
SFI Trustee Katherine Collins and ACtioN member Putnam Investments are co-hosting a Virtual Topical Meeting May 27-28 to explore how complexity science can inform sustainable investing. The meeting will bring investors together with leading climate and complexity scientists to discuss “The Complexity of Sustainability and Investing.”
On April 15, SFI hosted a flash discussion that focused on human behavior, incentives, and beliefs. The overarching message was that the financial and social fallout of the pandemic, while difficult to predict, will largely depend on actions at individual, community, and institutional levels.
Study: ‘Near-unliveable’ heat for one-third of humans within 50 years if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut
Areas of the planet home to one-third of humans will become as hot as the hottest parts of the Sahara within 50 years, unless greenhouse gas emissions fall, according to research by an international research team of archaeologists, ecologists, and climate scientists. The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, resulted from a 2018 SFI working group on climate change and the human "niche." It finds that rapid heating would mean that 3.5 billion people would live outside the temperature and humidity combinations in which humans have thrived for 6,000 years.
SFI welcomes Omidyar Fellow Anjali Bhatt, who holds an AB in physics from Harvard University and is completing a PhD in organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and blends organizational and cultural theories, which are grounded in sociology, with the mathematical models of evolutionary biology and the quantitative tools of computational linguistics.
SFI welcomes Progam Postdoctoral Fellow Jonas Dalege, who holds a PhD in psychology as well as a BSc and MSc from the University of Amsterdam and will work with SFI Professor Mirta Galesic and External Professor Henrik Olsson to develop a unifying theoretical framework that integrates two approaches to understanding our ability to develop and maintain beliefs.
SFI welcomes Program Postdoctoral Fellow Natalie Grefenstette, who holds a PhD in prebiotic chemistry from University College London and is working with Professor Chris Kempes on a NASA-funded Agnostic Biosignatures project.