InterPlanetary: Voyager to launch in October 2022

This October 22 & 23, SFI will reprise the InterPlanetary Festival. In partnership with SITE Santa Fe, this year’s festival offers an intimate setting with limited seating, and content simulcast to multiple screens in Santa Fe's Railyard Park and streamed online. 

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SFI Welcomes Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow Jack Shaw

The climate and biodiversity crises are stressing wildlife species around the world in unprecedented ways. A species’ evolutionary past, however, can help shed light on its fate in the face of future environmental change. Helping to fill in these crucial data gaps is the focus of Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow Jack Shaw’s work at SFI. 

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SFI welcomes Applied Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow Veronica Cappelli

Many researchers at SFI are driven by a curiosity to understand the laws that underlie various forms of life. Work spearheaded more than two decades ago by SFI’s Geoffrey West, Brian Enquist, and Jim Brown has illustrated that organisms’ biological functions are governed by scaling laws. Other researchers have gone on to discover that human social life, from cities to organizations, follows similar rules. “These laws apply, with their own specificities, across domains,” says Veronica Cappelli, an SFI Applied Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow.

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Study: new model for predicting belief change

A new kind of predictive network model could help determine which people will change their minds about contentious scientific issues when presented with evidence-based information. A new study in Science Advances presents a framework to accurately predict whether a person will change their opinion about a certain topic. The approach estimates the amount of dissonance, or mental discomfort, a person has from holding conflicting beliefs about a topic. 

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Literature’s hottest new author: E. Machina?

Imagine a bookshelf that stretches far into the distance, laden with genre fiction: potboilers, romances, thrillers. Farther down, we glimpse the royal blue of a Fitzcarraldo edition. The catch? Every book has the same author: E. Machina. They’ve all been written by AI. To SFI External Professor Dan Rockmore (Dartmouth College), we’re closer than we think to the world of that bookstore. The working group “The Anxiety of the Computational” explores questions about how AI-written literature might impact the humanities.

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Thermodynamics of computation: Central to not cooking the planet

Ten percent of carbon burned on Earth comes from devices like your cellphone, quietly computing even when you aren’t looking at it. Developing a greater understanding of the thermodynamics of computation like that done by your cellphone is critical to reducing energy use. It is also critical to understanding a host of deep, long-standing scientific problems. An Aug. 15–17 workshop, "The Thermodynamics of Natural and Artificial Distributed Computational Systems," meets to identify challenges, opportunities, and priorities to push forward scientific investigations of this topic. 

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Themed issue explores complex systems problems facing the planet

Heatwaves are triggering wildfires and killing people around the globe. The climate emergency and the planet’s sixth mass extinction event have already begun. A special themed issue in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences addresses what actions have led us to this point and what we can do from here.

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New collaborations in complexity economics

At present, the global economy is experiencing structural changes that often seem unprecedented. Rapid technological evolution, climate migration, demographic shifts, and deepening inequality all contribute to the current flux of economic systems. The threat of economic reconfiguration also appears to be fueling political polarization around the globe. In light of the current patterns that researchers are observing, many seek new methods to understand the mechanisms that shape the new landscape. An August 8-12 working group explores “How Can Complexity Economics Give More Insight into Political Economy?” 

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Aviv Bergman on sabbatical at SFI

Imagine that we rewound life’s tape to a distant past and let evolution play out again. Which species and traits would succeed the second time? Which characteristics would emerge over and over again, invariant to random chance? Aviv Bergman of the Albert Einstein Institute of Medicine is spending his sabbatical at the Santa Fe Institute, developing computational models designed to answer those questions.

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Italian meeting explores quantitative human ecologies

To address climate change and other societal challenges like rising inequality, human migration, and biodiversity loss, humanity must consider the ecological, economic, and political constraints of our planetary systems. In late July, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy, hosted a workshop to discuss these considerations and foster collaboration across research communities. SFI co-hosted the workshop in partnership with ICTP and the Fondazione Internazionale Trieste. 

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New model predicts how temperature affects life from quantum to classical scales

A general theory describing how life depends on temperature has been lacking — until now. In a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, research led by José Ignacio Arroyo, an SFI Postdoctoral Fellow, introduces a simple framework that rigorously predicts how temperature affects living things, at all scales. 

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SFI Summer programs: back in full swing

After two years of online-only and postponed events, SFI's summer education programs are back in person. June brought students from around the world to participate in the Undergraduate Complexity Research, Complex Systems Summer School, Graduate Workshop in Computational Social Science, and Advanced Graduate Workshop programs. 

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