Santa Fe Institute receives $50 million from Bill Miller

In the largest single donation in its history, the nonprofit Santa Fe Institute will receive $50 million from legendary investor Bill Miller. The gift will advance the Institute's pioneering science of complex systems by growing its research community and expanding the facilities in which it works. 

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Strengthening the second law of thermodynamics

For the past few years, SFI Professor David Wolpert and physicist Artemy Kolchinsky, a former SFI postdoctoral fellow, have been collaborating to better understand the connection between thermodynamics and information processing in computation. Their latest exploration of the topic, published in Physical Review E, looks at applying these ideas to a wide range of classical and quantum areas, including quantum thermodynamics.

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Making entropy production work

In a new paper published in Physical Review X, SFI physicists David Wolpert and Artemy Kolchinsky explore more realistic bounds on entropy production by considering how constraints affect Landauer’s limit. Their approach to understanding how much work can be extracted from a physical system could lead to a better understanding of the thermodynamic efficiency of various real-world systems, ranging from biomolecular machines to recently-developed “information engines” that use information as fuel.

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When is a basin of attraction like an octopus?

Mathematicians who study dynamical systems often focus on the rules of attraction, finding the “basins” that show the states the systems are drawn to. For straightforward systems, the shape and size of a basin is comprehensible, but not so for more complicated systems. In fact, they may look like the tentacles of an octopus, according to a new paper by SFI Postdoc Yuanzhao Zhang and co-author Steven Strogatz. 

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Some colleges are mammals, others are cities

A new study by Santa Fe Institute researchers examines how scale affects factors like tuition, research production, and teaching salaries in different categories of colleges and universities. The research, published in PLOS ONE, is the first to systematically look at interconnected scaling effects in U.S. higher education.

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New documentary captures power of complexity to safeguard humanity’s future

Will the 21st century be humanity’s greatest, or our worst? According to the award-winning new documentary “Solutions,” which was filmed on-location at the Santa Fe Institute, the answer depends on the decisions we make in the next couple of decades, and on our ability to work across disciplines and continents to find revolutionary solutions. 

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New tool untangles complex dynamics on hypergraphs

Networks are a powerful model for describing connected systems in biological, physical, social, and other environments. As useful as they are, though, conventional networks are static and are limited to describing links between pairs of objects. In a paper published in Communications Physics, SFI Schmidt Science Fellow Yuanzhao Zhang and collaborators describe a new framework for simplifying the analysis of synchronization patterns in a wide variety of systems that include hypergraphs, temporal networks, and multilayer networks. 

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When does reputation lie?

Is merit necessarily achieved, or does social status influence whether a person succeeds or is trapped in a system?  Former SFI postdocs Eleanor Power and Marion Dumas, together with their colleague Jessica Barker, explore these questions in a new paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

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Stuart Firestein joins Fractal Faculty

Stuart Firestein, a neuroscientist who specializes in the olfactory system and who is obsessed with the history, evolution, and future of science, joins SFI's Fractal Faculty.

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