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Education Program

All day


Our campus is closed to the public for this event.

Program Overview

A new program from the Santa Fe Institute combines the guided interaction of an in-person course with the flexibility to learn from anywhere in the world. This three-week, part-time, online course offers participants a theory- and applications-based view of complexity science. Complexity Interactive will focus on providing a foundation for thinking broadly about complex systems, encouraging participants to explore syntheses across systems in an open dialog with SFI faculty. SFI-CI will be limited to ~ 50 participants to ensure everyone has ample opportunity to discuss with faculty and with each other.



Complexity Interactive is aimed at practicing researchers from academic, private, non-profit, and government sectors who wish to understand how the methods and philosophy of a complex systems approach may enhance their work. The curriculum is especially suited to graduate students and postdocs (or those at similar career stages) in a particular discipline who wish to develop a more trans-disciplinary, mutualistic approach in their work.

Dates & Times

12 - 30 October 2020

“Live” events* [All times Mountain Time (GMT –06:00)]

M: 10:00am –  12:30pm

Tu: 10:00am – 12:00pm

W: 10:00am – 2:00pm

Th: 10:00am – 12:00pm

F: 10:00am – 1:30pm

Plus about 5-10 hours per week of self-scheduled time for group projects, office hours, and self-directed study

* minor changes are possible; applicants offered admission will be notified of the final schedule prior to registration


●  A series of live* lectures, panel discussions, and Q&As organized around select themes in complexity science. Content will cover methods/approaches, applications, debates, and open questions.   

●  Mentored group projects will provide practice in the content introduced in tutorials and lectures and allow exploration of complex systems research.

●  Curated recorded materials as well as quizzes, problem sets, and recommended readings will provide a reference and resource for foundational theory.

       * Recorded and archived for participants during the course. 

Participants will receive a certification of completion from the Santa Fe Institute at the conclusion of the course.


The curriculum will focus on the broad themes of robustness, adaptation and transmission, and criticality as evident in a variety of systems.


The Complexity Interactive faculty incorporates the diverse interests of SFI scientists. Speakers include:

Danielle Bassett • Brains   U Pennsylvania | Santa Fe Institute
Jenna Bednar • Government   U Michigan | Santa Fe Institute
Aviv Bergman • Genes   Albert Einstein College of Medicine | Santa Fe Institute
Luís Bettencourt • Cities   U Chicago | Santa Fe Institute
Simon DeDeo • Culture   Carnegie Mellon U | Santa Fe Institute
Mirta Galesic • Opinions   Santa Fe Institute
Cristopher Moore • Algorithms   Santa Fe Institute
Melanie Mitchell • AIs   Portland State U | Santa Fe Institute
Melanie Moses • Robots   U New Mexico | Santa Fe Institute
Orit Peleg • Insects   U Colorado Boulder | Santa Fe Institute
Marten Scheffer • Ecosystems   Wageningen U | Santa Fe Institute
Ricard Solé • Patterns   U Pompeu Fabra | Santa Fe Institute
Stefan Thurner • Societies   Medical University of Vienna | Santa Fe Institute



If accepted into Complexity Interactive, participants will be expected to pay a $500 tuition. A small number of scholarships are available to participants who can articulate a need for support; scholarship application instructions will be provided upon acceptance into the program.

Tuition helps us pay stipends to the program Teaching Assistants and course director and to offer our faculty a nominal honorarium. Most of our faculty have substantial teaching duties at their home institutions and we greatly appreciate and wish to recognize their willingness to make time to contribute to SFI educational programs.

Program Goals 

After completing the Complexity Interactive, participants will be able to:

  1. Recognize cross-system regularities that govern complex systems and have a vocabulary for describing those properties. 
  2. Describe the mathematical and/or physical bases of information, computation, and complexity.
  3. Discuss the approaches used to understand and model complex systems and considerations for employing different approaches.
  4. Qualitatively compare complex systems across scales and compositions.
  5. Apply methods from information theory, computational theory, evolutionary theory, and/or game theory to a question in complex systems science.


Please note: SFI-CI is hosted by the Sanfe Fe Insitute's Education department. Complete details for this program can be found on their page.

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