Santa Fe Institute

Santa Fe Institute Mission and Scientific Principles

The SFI Mission Statement

Searching for Order in the Complexity of Evolving Worlds

Scientific Principles of SFI

We find order in ubiquitous patterns that repeat throughout living nature: networks, conflict and cooperation, distributed decision making, the structured flow of energy, and elements of invention and novelty. These patterns are found at all scales, from the molecular, through tissues, individuals, technology, the economy, and cultures.

We seek to understand and unify these patterns of order through new ideas building upon evolutionary game theory, non-linear dynamics, out of equilibrium statistical mechanics, information theory, the theory of scaling of resource networks, robust design, non-traditional theories of computing, agent-based modeling, and formalisms
coupling adaptive information with sources of energy.

Our research domain is that of complexity: the evolved order inherent in the living world. We investigate complexity arising through the emergent laws and frozen accidents of deep history encompassing organic and cultural change.

We study biological worlds, social worlds, cultural worlds, technological worlds, and even possible counterfactual astrobiological worlds we have yet to encounter.

Our search for order in complexity takes place across a global research network without boundaries, without departments and without disciplines, providing intellectual nourishment, significant amplification of ideas and impact, and unification to all curious minds steeped in the rigors of logical, mathematical and computational

The SFI connects researchers driven by an insatiable desire to understand invisible mechanisms supporting evolving worlds, and to use this understanding to promote the wellbeing and future of life on earth.

Events News

Video: Jordan Ellenberg on the power of uncertainty and contradiction Oct. 19, 2016 -

During an October 18 SFI Community Lecture in Santa Fe, mathematician Jordan Ellenberg explored how math can help us think about the seemingly uncertain matters that dominate our lives. Watch ...

Video: Watch Seth Lloyd's 2016 Ulam Lectures: Birth, collapse, and rebirth at The Information Edge Sept. 29, 2016 -

In two lectures, Seth Lloyd explores what happens when one system gains an advantage in collecting and processing information – an advantage he believes underlies all creation and destruction in our ...

Ecologists gather the pieces of a first-principles-derived ecological theory Sept. 21, 2016 -

A team of ecologists met at SFI recently to begin synthesizing an efficient theory that aims toward a more unified understanding of ecology.

Watch the video of Rosalind Picard's SFI Community Lecture Sept. 2, 2016 -

During an SFI Community Lecture in Santa Fe, Rosalind Picard reveals some of the surprises she has discovered at the intersection of human emotion and wearable tech. Watch her talk ...

Networks, AI, and psychology for social change Aug. 4, 2016 -

Drawing from network science, decision-making tools with artificial intelligence, and social influence theories, experts gathered at SFI recently to explore new ways to spark large-scale social change.

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