Introduction to the Theory of Complex Systems (Oxford University Press, 2018)  by SFI External Professor Stefan Thurner and his colleagues Rudolf Hanel and Peter Klimek at complexity Science Hub Vienna, synthesizes hundreds of findings to distill what complex systems share in common. This rigorous, introductory textbook offers a comprehensive overview of complex systems, from ecosystems and traffic to financial markets and social media, and the tools needed to understand their co-evolutionary natures.


The Model Thinker: What you need to know to make data work for you (Basic Books, 2018) by SFI External Professor Scott Page simply and in clear language describes dozens of models that can help readers better understand the world. The “many-model thinking” approach offered in the book shows how the insights and overlap of different approaches produces wisdom and more nuanced understandings of complex phenomena.


Shadows of Doubt: Stereotypes, Crime and the Pursuit of Justice (Harvard University Press, 2019) by SFI External Professor Rajiv Sethi and Brendan O’Flaherty explores how stereotypes impact the way crimes unfold, and how they contaminate the justice system. At every step  in a crime and its punishment, offenders, victims, law enforcement, and jurors make high-stakes decisions with imperfect information. Stereotypes provide deceptive and powerful shortcuts in time-sensitive decision-making and are implicated in the most controversial criminal justice issues of our time.


Computational Matter (Springer International Publishing, 2018), edited by SFI External Professor Steen Rasmussen, Susan Stepney,  and Martyn Amos and part of the Natural Computing series, offers an overview of computing in materio — the unconventional computing performed by directly harnessing the physical properties of materials. This introductory text book provides an overview  of the field, with particular attention to theory, practice, applications and implications.   


Viruses as Complex Adaptive Systems (Princeton University Press, 2019), by SFI External Professors Ricard Solé and Santiago Elena, examines viruses as both infectious parasites and drivers of species evolution. Pairing complex systems theory with an understanding of viral dynamics has offered new insights into how AIDS develops in patients with HIV-1 and how the flu evolves, and the authors show how it can also be applied analogously to other replicators like computer viruses, cancer, and languages.


Pertussis: Epidemiology, Immunology, and Evolution (Oxford University Press, 2019) edited by former SFI Omidyar Fellow Samuel Scarpino and Pejman Rohani, offers a comprehensive overview of the current scientific and public health knowledge of pertussis, or whooping cough, which is one of the world’s leading vaccine-preventable killers. In many regions, including the U.S. and Europe, pertussis cases are on the rise, and there is not consensus as to why. This volume gathers chapters from disparate fields to provide a synthesis of what is known.

From the Winter 2018 Parallax Newsletter. To subscribe to the paper newsletter, email