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: Patricia Churchland on the self as brain Nov. 24, 2015 -

During an SFI Community Lecture November 18 in Santa Fe, neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland explained the neural workings that underlie identity. Watch it here.

Apply now for SFI's 2016 Complex Systems Summer School Nov. 10, 2015 -

SFI is accepting applications for its signature education program for graduate students and postdocs -- the 2016 Complex Systems Summer School, June 12-July 8, 2015, in Santa Fe. Apply by January ...

One reporter's account of SFI's 'Genius and Madness' event in August Nov. 9, 2015 -

Months before the release of Cormac McCarthy's forthcoming novel, an auditorium-capacity crowd – including a reporter from Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the largest-circulation daily newspaper in Germany – was treated to a reading ...

Getting our arms around obesity Oct. 29, 2015 -

A working group this week at SFI takes on the complex social problem of obesity, as collaborators test and refine an agent-based model for a pilot intervention.

Why some organisms adopt complex life strategies Oct. 28, 2015 -

Ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and other experts are gathered at SFI this week to ask why certain species, when faced with environmental stressors, invest in complex life strategies.

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