A statistical fix for archaeology's dating problem

Archaeologists have long had a dating problem. The radiocarbon analysis typically used to reconstruct past human demographic changes relies on a method easily skewed by radiocarbon calibration curves and measurement uncertainty. And there’s never been a statistical fix that works — until now.

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Juergen Jost on Information Theory and Consciousness

In a new opinion piece for Frontiers in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, SFI External Professor Jürgen Jost tours some of the major philosophical and scientific debates around consciousness, including whether a human or animal brain automatically becomes conscious when it crosses a certain threshold of complexity.

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Study: As cities grow in size, the poor 'get nothing at all'

On average, people in larger cities are better off economically. But a new study published in the Royal Society Interface builds on previous research that says, that’s not necessarily true for the individual city-dweller. It turns out, bigger cities also produce more income inequality.

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SFI researchers publish new theory of life’s multiple origins

What if life evolved not just once, but multiple times independently? 

In a new paper, published in the Journal of Molecular Evolution, Santa Fe Institute researchers Chris Kempes and David Krakauer argue that in order to recognize life’s full range of forms, we must develop a new theoretical frame. 

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SFI welcomes 9 new external researchers

The external faculty are central to SFI’s identity as a world-class research institute. They enrich our networks of interactions, help us push the boundaries of complex systems science, and connect us to over 70 institutions around the globe.

This year, nine new researchers join SFI’s external faculty

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Research brief: Really real patterns

Does the universe follow patterns, or do we humans just see them wherever we look? In a new paper for the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, SFI Program Postdoctoral Fellow Tyler Millhouse proposes a criterion evaluating just how real a pattern is likely to be. 

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How chemical reactions compute

If chemical reactions can be “programmed” like other types of computing machines, they might be exploited for applications in many areas, including intelligent drug delivery, neural networks, or even artificial cells, write SFI External Professor Juan Pérez-Mercader and Marta Dueñas-Díez in a review article for Frontiers in Chemistry.

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SFI launches humanities analytics institute

On September 1, SFI will launch a new “NEH institute,” Foundations and Applications of Humanities Analytics, to introduce early-career humanities scholars to new ways of studying culture with a wide range of computational tools.

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Research brief: Getting in synch on a budget

In a paper published in Nature Communications, incoming SFI Postdoctoral Fellow Yuanzhao Zhang and former SFI external faculty member Steve Strogatz report using temporal network models to show that allowing connection patterns to change over time makes it possible to synchronize a system more efficiently.

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Mandating vaccination could reduce voluntary compliance

Citizen opposition to COVID-19 vaccination has emerged across the globe, prompting pushes for mandatory vaccination policies.  But a new study based on evidence from Germany and on a model of the dynamic nature of people’s resistance to COVID-19 vaccination sounds an alarm: mandating vaccination could have a substantial negative impact on voluntary compliance.

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