Heiroglyphs in tomb of Pharaoh. Rameses IV (Photo: Tom Podmore/Unsplash)

The ability to store and process information was central to sociopolitical development across civilizations ranging from the Neolithic to the last millennium, according to research published last spring by an SFI team led by SFI Professor David Wolpert and SFI External Professor Tim Kohler (Washington State University).

Now, Nature Communications — one of the publications filtering through the immense amount of data generated in our own slice of time and space — has selected the team’s paper for its Social Sciences Focus, an editors’ showcase of recent cross-disciplinary advances deemed particularly prominent.

Information storage and processing are “not just some interesting little sidelight,” as Kohler has put it. “They are in fact extremely central to the process”— a process that, in Wolpert’s words, originally seemed “flabbergasting.”

Other SFI co-authors include Applied Complexity Fellow Michael Price, former Complexity Postdoctoral Fellows Hajime Shimao and Brendan Tracey, and former Undergraduate Complexity Researcher Jaewon Shin.

Read Focus: Social Sciences in Nature Communications (January 26, 2021)

Read the paper, "Scale and information-processing thresholds in Holocene social evolution," in Nature Communications (May 14, 2020)