Kickstarting Memes and Movements: A Distribution-Based Threshold Model

The decisions of individual agents to participate in a social movement have collective effects. Each agent faces certain costs and benefits associated with their participation. When enough agents decide to participate, the movement is successful. However, these costs and benefits are not fixed. A movement...

Visualizing Frustration: Through the Spinning Glass

Mainstream spin-glass literature tends to be very graph and equation heavy, making these systems, to some, appear incomprehensible. However, these models of disordered magnetic moments continue to show up in complex system discussions as a potential key to understanding quantum computing, neural networks,...

Spectral community detection with the 'z-Laplacian'

Community detection is a fundamental problem in network science, with broad applications across the biological and social arenas. A common approach is to leverage the spectral properties of an operator related to the network (most commonly the adjacency matrix or graph Laplacian),though there are regimes...

The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math

Viewed through the right lens, the universal language of math connects to literature, philosophy, law, medicine, art, business, and even pop culture and current events. It underpins every aspect of our lives, from finding the perfect romantic partner to understanding how Google works. Yet few of us understand...

On Creating Built Environments that Promote Health and Sustainability

There is an increasing interest in tackling multiple social, health and environmental concerns in cities with a comprehensive and holistic approach, including a recent surge in interest in developing complex systems analysis of cities. Some of the greatest public health challenges in particular such...

Is Time Travel Possible? Testing the ‘Grandfather Paradox’

Time travel is a science fiction staple, inspiring the plots of countless books, movies and Star Trek episodes. But while basic physics allows for the possibility of moving through time, practical concerns like the “Grandfather Paradox,” in which a traveler jumps back in time, kills his grandfather and...

The Fabric of our Lives: Cities, Slums, Neighborhoods, People

What is a city, and what makes Chicago so different from Los Angeles? Luis Bettencourt peers inside the city, down to the data describing its neighborhoods and its people. He shows how a city is less a place than a fabric, weaved from the threads of the individual lives interacting within it – it is,...

Whiskey is for Drinking; Water is for Fighting Over

The phrase “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over,” often misattributed to Mark Twain, succinctly describes how water is thought about in the western United States. As urban populations grow, water managers are becoming increasingly concerned about water scarcity because their traditional...

The Biodistribution of Iron in the Metallome as Time's Arrow

The evolution of the biogeochemistry of iron through geological time is a useful example of the adaptation of single cell organisms to environmental change. Life has evolved such that iron is an essential nutrient for virtually every living cell. As the earth’s atmosphere changed from an anaerobic reducing...

The Big Research Questions for Today's Rapidly Changing Financial System

The dynamics of the world financial system today affect every aspect of human life in developed countries, and increasingly in developing countries as well. Stock prices today are an expression of economic, political, legal, social, and environmental factors more than in any time in history. The rapid...

Centralities, Communities and Operators: A Framework for Network Dynamics

In this talk, we highlight the interplay between a dynamic process and the structure of the network on which it is defined. Specifically, we examine the impact of this interaction on the quality-measure of network clusters and node centrality. This enables us to effectively identify network communities...

Fire on Landscapes and Middle-Number Systems: Complexity Writ Large?

Wildfire is nearly ubiquitous on landscapes of the western U.S., and in many other regions around the world. There are theoretical and practical reasons to understand fire’s influence, both in the short term (individual fires) and long term (fire “regimes” and how they affect landscape pattern and process)....

Is Free Will an Illusion? What Can Cognitive Science Tell Us?

Serious thinkers contend that free will cannot exist in a deterministic universe -- one in which events are the singular outcomes of the conditions in which they occur. The alternative view, that free will is prerequisite for personal responsibility and morality, is the basis of our legal and religious...

Hierarchical Block Structures and High-Resolution Model Selection in Large Networks

Many social, technological, and biological networks are composed of modules, representing groups of nodes that are assumed to have a similar role in the functioning of the network. The use of statistical generative models that formally characterize this modular structure is a powerful tool that allows...

The Neural Dynamics of Decision Making: Multiple Scales and a Range of Models

I describe a range of models, from cellular to cortical scales, that illuminate how we accumulate evidence and make simple decisions. Large networks composed of individual spiking neurons can capture biophysical details of synaptic transmission and neuromodulation, but their complexity renders them opaque...

The Conceptual Framework of Urban Scaling

Annual Science Board Symposium and Meeting Complexity: Theory and Practice

Pathogen Diversity from an Ecological Perspective

Annual Science Board Symposium and Meeting Complexity: Theory and Practice

Brief Research Talks - Omidyar Postdoctoral Fellows

Annual Science Board Symposium and Meeting Complexity: Theory and Practice

Welcome to the 2014 SFI Science Board Symposium

Annual Science Board Symposium and Meeting Complexity: Theory and Practice

Physics-Inspired Algorithms and Phase Transitions in Community Detection

Annual Science Board Symposium and Meeting Complexity: Theory and Practice