Research brief: Really real patterns

Does the universe follow patterns, or do we humans just see them wherever we look? In a new paper for the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, SFI Program Postdoctoral Fellow Tyler Millhouse proposes a criterion evaluating just how real a pattern is likely to be. 

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How chemical reactions compute

If chemical reactions can be “programmed” like other types of computing machines, they might be exploited for applications in many areas, including intelligent drug delivery, neural networks, or even artificial cells, write SFI External Professor Juan Pérez-Mercader and Marta Dueñas-Díez in a review article for Frontiers in Chemistry.

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What we're reading, July 2021

We at SFI are often asked for reading recommendations, so we feel it is time to make our responses more broadly available to the public. Beginning with this first installment, future issues of our newsletter, Parallax, will feature three new recommendations on a specific theme, each from a different member of our community.

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SFI launches humanities analytics institute

On September 1, SFI will launch a new “NEH institute,” Foundations and Applications of Humanities Analytics, to introduce early-career humanities scholars to new ways of studying culture with a wide range of computational tools.

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In memoriam: Richard Lewontin

Richard Lewontin, 92, a revolutionary geneticist, evolutionary biologist, and longtime member of SFI’s science board, passed away in his home in Massachusetts on July 4. 

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Research brief: Getting in synch on a budget

In a paper published in Nature Communications, incoming SFI Postdoctoral Fellow Yuanzhao Zhang and former SFI external faculty member Steve Strogatz report using temporal network models to show that allowing connection patterns to change over time makes it possible to synchronize a system more efficiently.

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Mandating vaccination could reduce voluntary compliance

Citizen opposition to COVID-19 vaccination has emerged across the globe, prompting pushes for mandatory vaccination policies.  But a new study based on evidence from Germany and on a model of the dynamic nature of people’s resistance to COVID-19 vaccination sounds an alarm: mandating vaccination could have a substantial negative impact on voluntary compliance.

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