Study: To prevent collapse of tropical forests, protect their shape

A team of scientists has made a fundamental discovery about how fires on the edges of these forests control their shape and stability. Their study implies that when patches of tropical forest lose their natural shape it could contribute to the sudden, even catastrophic, transformation of that land from trees to grass.

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Complexity postdocs reconvene

The Santa Fe Institute and James S. McDonnell Foundation (JSMF) are reconvening their postdoctoral fellows for the third bi-annual Postdocs in Complexity Conference on March 27-30 in Santa Fe.

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Caribou drone study shows 'enormous variation' within herd

In a paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B, SFI Omidyar Fellow Andrew Berdahl, long-time collaborator Colin Torney (University of Glasgow), and co-authors, used drones to collect overhead footage of migrating caribou. This is the first paper to use drones to record the movement of individual animals within groups. It is also among the first to study social interactions within those groups as they migrate.

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Video: Chris Kempes on Life on Earth and Beyond

Though scientists have yet to find life beyond our own planet, the universe is rife with possibilities. Where to look, and how to recognize it when we find it, are questions physical biologist Chris Kempes explored during March 20 Santa Fe Institute Community Lecture. Watch his talk here.

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Opening a centuries-old window on innovation

Patents are one of the best sources of data on technology development — an open-ended, historical and adaptive system that shows us how and why inventions have come to be. But is the U.S. patent system broken?

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Learning by omission

What would happen if neural networks were explicitly trained to discard useless information, and how to tell them to do so, is the subject of recent research by SFI's Artemy Kolchinsky, Brendan Tracey, and David Wolpert.

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What magnets have to do with pistachios

SFI External Professor Jon Machta and colleagues from the University of California, Davis, show that one of the most famous models in statistical physics, the Ising model, could be used to understand why pistachio trees bloom in synchrony.

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In memoriam: Robert McCormick Adams

Robert McCormick Adams, a founding member of SFI’s Science Board and the ninth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, passed away January 27 at the age of 91.

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