Sam Zhang

Applied Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow Starting at SFI October 2024

Starting at SFI October 2024

Data science holds immense potential to shape public policy and improve the world. Sam Zhang's research moves toward this vision by combining statistical and computational techniques to advance policy-relevant basic science. His agenda is motivated by an ethical reflectiveness: he applies data science to illuminate the pathways for improving complex social institutions, starting with the ones he himself inhabits, ranging from the personal (scientific decision-making) to the local (academic careers) and the global (criminal justice and human rights).

Sam's work has appeared in high-profile journals such as Nature, Science Advances, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Nature Communications. He has been recognized for his achievements as a University of Chicago Rising Star in Data Science, and will begin in Fall 2025 as an Assistant Professor of Statistics at the University of Vermont. He received his PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado Boulder, where he was supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

At the Santa Fe Institute, Sam will bring his collaborations with non-profit organizations such as the Human Rights Data Analysis Group into his role as an Applied Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow working with Professor Cris Moore. They will work together on questions of algorithmic justice in the criminal justice system and human rights more broadly.