Carrying on with collaborative research

SFI has always prided itself on its ability to bring together top scientists from around the world. Traditionally, they've met in the same room, with catered meals and coffee on tap. Now, in an effort to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, SFI’s faculty, postdocs, and staff are making the most of remote work. 

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Interacting contagions call for complex models

When disease modelers map the spread of viruses like the novel coronavirus, Ebola, or the flu, they traditionally treat them as isolated pathogens. Under these so-called “simple” dynamics, it’s generally accepted that the forecasted size of the affected population will be proportional to the rate of transmission. But according to former SFI postdoc Laurent Hébert-Dufresne at the University of Vermont and his co-authors Samuel Scarpino at Northeastern University, a former Omidyar Fellow, and Jean-Gabriel Young at the University of Michigan, the presence of even one more contagion in the population can dramatically shift the dynamics from simple to complex.

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Working group views language as a window into human minds

In the field of computer science, recent advances in machine learning have begun to produce tools that could be used to mine the vast trove of communiqués in cyberspace that hold patterns that can provide rich insights into how our minds work. An SFI working group, which met online in April, brought together psychologists and computer scientists to explore how the two fields can collaborate. 

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The Hill: Life vs livelihoods

In his recent op-ed at The Hill, External Professor Rajiv Sethi explains that protecting life is essential to protecting livelihoods: the only sustainable way to protect economic livelihood is to ensure that re-entry into economic life is, and remains, non-life-threatening.

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How should we act now? A virtual workshop on the COVID-19 pandemic

On April 15, SFI hosted a flash discussion that focused on human behavior, incentives, and beliefs. The overarching message was that the financial and social fallout of the pandemic, while difficult to predict, will largely depend on actions at individual, community, and institutional levels.

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Study: ‘Near-unliveable’ heat for one-third of humans within 50 years if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut

Areas of the planet home to one-third of humans will become as hot as the hottest parts of the Sahara within 50 years, unless greenhouse gas emissions fall, according to research by an international research team of archaeologists, ecologists, and climate scientists. The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, resulted from a 2018 SFI working group on climate change and the human "niche." It finds that rapid heating would mean that 3.5 billion people would live outside the temperature and humidity combinations in which humans have thrived for 6,000 years.

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SFI welcomes postdoctoral fellow Anjali Bhatt

SFI welcomes Omidyar Fellow Anjali Bhatt, who holds an AB in physics from Harvard University and is completing a PhD in organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and blends organizational and cultural theories, which are grounded in sociology, with the mathematical models of evolutionary biology and the quantitative tools of computational linguistics.

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