Nautilus: Playing Go with Darwin

In a new op-ed at Nautilus, SFI President David Krakauer explains that the key moves in evolution bear a striking resemblance to those that animate the game of Go.

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Sean Carroll elected to AAAS

SFI External Professor Sean Carroll of Caltech has been elected a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for 2020, the association announced on November 24. 

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Aeon: All stars

In their recent essay in Aeon, SFI Professor Jessica Flack and collaborator Cade Massey (Wharton School, University of Texas) argue that complexity science can help us improve our strategies for building teams.

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Study: Countering hate on social media

The rise of online hate speech is a disturbing, growing trend in countries around the world, with serious psychological consequences and the potential to impact, and even contribute to, real-world violence. A new paper offers a framework for studying the dynamics of online hate and counter speech, and offers the first large-scale classification of millions of instances such interactions on Twitter.

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The Conversation: Election polls are more accurate if they ask participants how others will vote

In a post-election op-ed for The Conversation, SFI Professor Mirta Galesic and Wändi Bruine de Bruin at USC Dornsife describe their polling research with colleagues Henrik Olssen, SFI External Professor, and Drazen Prelec at MIT. The team found that if polls start to ask questions about how people think members of their social circle or state will vote, they tend to predict results with far greater accuracy. 

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First virtual Undergraduate Complexity Research Program a success

It takes patience and plenty of good-will to transform a dynamic and intensive in-person summer program into a virtual experience that offers genuine and impactful connections. With the support of SFI Professor and Program Director Chris Kempes and Education Program Manager Carla Shedivy, ten students around the U.S. and 11 SFI researcher-mentors proved up to the task.

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The rhythm of change: What a drum-beat experiment reveals about cultural evolution

Living organisms aren’t the only things that evolve over time. Cultural practices change, too, and in recent years social scientists have taken a keen interest in understanding this cultural evolution. A new experiment used drum-beats to investigate the role that environment plays on cultural shifts, confirming that different environments do indeed give rise to different cultural patterns.

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Research News Briefs, Fall 2020

Research News Briefs highlight new studies from the SFI community published in the last quarter. The following briefs appeared in SFI's Fall 2020 Parallax newsletter. 

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Joshua Epstein receives top award for social simulation

The European Social Simulation Association (ESSA) honored SFI External Professor Joshua Epstein (New York University) with its most prestigious award — The Rosaria Conte Award for Outstanding Social Simulation. A pioneer and world leader in agent-based modeling, Epstein was among the first scientists to use bottom-up simulation to replicate the statistical macrostructures seen in complex social systems. 

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First to forecast life above Venus

September 2020 brought a landmark discovery for astrobiology — the detection of a chemical compound in the clouds of Venus that is often associated with the presence of life. Though no SFI researchers were on the team that published the recent discovery of phosphine, one SFI scientist first forecast the possibility of Venusian life more than 50 years earlier.

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