Karen Willcox Winner of the 2024 Theodore von Kármán Prize

SFI External Professor Karen Willcox (UT Austin), who also serves on SFI’s Science Board, recently won the 2024 Theodore von Kármán Prize for her contributions to computational science and engineering. Willcox was acknowledged for her work in the development and application of model reduction methods across diverse fields, and digital twins.

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Tim Kohler to deliver Linda S. Cordell Lecture

SFI External Professor Tim Kohler (Washington State University) will be delivering the Linda S. Cordell Lecture through the School for Advanced Research (SAR) on April 28, 2024, at the New Mexico History Museum. 

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To accelerate biosphere science, reconnect three scientific cultures

Researchers who study Earth’s biosphere tend to operate from one of three scientific cultures, each with distinct ways of conducting science, and which have been operating mostly independently from one another, find the authors of a Perspective published in PNAS. Three SFI researchers identify and explain the three cultures, and suggest that reconnecting them could help accelerate biosphere science.

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Mirta Galesic receives prestigious ERC Advanced Grant

SFI Professor Mirta Galesic has received a €3 million grant, to be distributed over the next five years, from the European Research Council (ERC) to study collective adaptation. The prestigious award will help Galesic and a team of researchers to study why collectives — from families to societies — can get stuck when tackling important problems like resolving longstanding conflicts or curbing the spread of disease. 

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Carlo Rovelli receives 2024 Lewis Thomas Prize

SFI Fractal Faculty Carlo Rovelli has been awarded the 2024 Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science. The award, named after its first recipient Lewis Thomas, a writer, educator, and physician–scientist, honors and recognizes those who have been able to use their vision and voice to explain science in multiple dimensions.

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Research News Brief: Defining a city using cell-phone data

Cities are defined by various criteria, from political units to built areas identified in satellite images to how people move across geographical space. The proliferation of cell phones around the globe may offer a more complete picture of people's mobility. 

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Complexity tools for USDA nutritional guidelines

A recent report co-authored by SFI External Professor Ross Hammond outlines six main strategies for incorporating complex-systems science into the USDA’s nutritional guideline and offers a roadmap for creating a more nuanced, multifaceted approach to shaping nutritional policies.

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Carlo Rovelli joins SFI's Fractal Faculty

Carlo Rovelli, a physicist known for his work on loop quantum gravity and for several popular science books including Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and The Order of Time, has joined SFI's Fractal Faculty.

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New book offers thoughtful approach to modeling complex social systems

In his new book Modeling Social Behavior: Mathematical and Agent-Based Models of Social Dynamics and Cultural Evolution, SFI External Professor Paul Smaldino provides an excellent introduction to agent-based modeling for social scientists and others interested in modeling cognitive–social systems and integrates the use of computational agent-based models with classic mathematical approaches from dynamical systems and game theory.

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Research News Brief: A test of AI “personalities” and behavior

As AI increasingly influences our human experience, we need to better understand its behavior. In new research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, SFI External Professor Matthew Jackson and co-authors presented two recent versions of ChatGPT — GPT-3 and -4 — with a common personality test and a suite of behavioral games, then compared the responses to those of humans from around the world. 

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Study: To make sense of history, embrace uncertainty

There are many things we don’t know about how history unfolds. The process might be impersonal, even inevitable, as some social scientists have suggested; human societies might be doomed to decline. Or, individual actions and environmental conditions might influence our communities’ trajectories. Social scientists have struggled to find a consensus on such fundamental issues. A new framework by SFI faculty and others suggests a way to unify these perspectives.

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How to track important changes in a dynamic network

Networks can represent changing systems, like the spread of an epidemic or the growth of groups in a population of people. But the structure of these networks can change, too, as links appear or vanish over time. In a new paper, a trio of SFI-affiliated researchers describe a novel way to aggregate static snapshots into smaller clusters of networks while still preserving the dynamic nature of the system.

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African and South Asian students build new connections during inaugural Complexity Global School

In December last year, the first Complexity Global School (CGS) brought together students from South Asia and Africa together to explore ideas at the intersection of complexity science and political economy. The School, which is part of SFI’s Emerging Political Economies program, was hosted by partnering institutions Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. 

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New gifts support SFI Education and Postdoctoral programs

In the first major gifts of 2024, and as part of SFI’s 40th Anniversary, the McKinnon Family Foundation and the Darla Moore Foundation have collectively pledged $750K each year for the next five years to support SFI’s education and early-career researcher programs. The gifts will ensure the financial stability of SFI’s Omidyar Fellowship, summer Undergraduate Complexity Research program, and its flagship Complex Systems Summer School. 

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