(Photo: David Clode/Unsplash)

Complex systems are widely recognized for their interactions. Online courses, not so much.

This fall, a new educational offering from the Santa Fe Institute will bring a little more interactivity to remote learning. SFI Complexity Interactive (SFI-CI), the Institute’s first advanced online course, will connect a cohort of graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and research professionals from around the world for a live program consisting of seminars by SFI scientists and a collaborative complexity science research project.

SFI-CI will focus on three themes in complex systems science: robustness, adaptation, and criticality. Participants will be invited to seek syntheses across diverse systems, from honeybee hives and democracies to brains and algorithms, under the guidance of SFI’s world-class faculty.

The summer of 2020 has brought many firsts to the Institute, as to the entire world, as the global pandemic challenges traditional ways of doing things. One SFI tradition, the Complex System Summer School (CSSS), was canceled for the first time in its 33-year history. CSSS helps carry out the educational mission of SFI as envisioned by the late Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann at the Institute's founding: to bring together scholars interested in cross-disciplinary syntheses and to train early-career scientists through research, collaboration, and discussion. Gell-Mann eschewed traditional lectures in favor of advanced seminars and project-based learning — an educational philosophy that SFI-CI will carry on in the online space.

Unlike SFI's open online courses on Complexity Explorer, which introduce thousands of learners to fundamental concepts in complexity science, the SFI-CI will limit its enrollment to about 50 participants.

"We are looking forward to welcoming a new group of complexity scientists to the SFI community with this online program,” says SFI Director for Education Carrie Cowan. “One aim of SFI-CI is to serve people who can't come to Santa Fe for CSSS, not only during the pandemic. SFI-CI will be accessible almost anywhere in the world and has a less intense schedule than Summer School."

The course runs from October 12 – October 30, 2020. Learn more and apply online by August 31.