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Research News

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Study: Medieval cities not so different from modern European cities
- PLOS One
Oct. 19, 2016 -

Modern European cities and medieval cities share a population-density-to-area relationship, a new paper concludes – the latest research to find regularities in human settlement patterns across space and time.

Study: When a group must solve hard problems, it's best to design the team around its learning style
- Nature Communications
Oct. 7, 2016 -

What is the best way for a group to collaborate on solving a difficult problem? A new study finds that the answer depends on how that particular group learns. 

Do 'green' vehicles cost more? Not in the long run, study finds
Sept. 29, 2016 -

A new study led by SFI External Professor Jessika Trancik finds that low-emission cars aren't more expensive over their life cycles than conventional internal combustion vehicles, contrary to widespread belief. 

Presidential debate science: In a race to the center, candidates split on pronouns
Sept. 27, 2016 -

They and We. I am and We are. According to an analysis of the September 26 presidential debate by SFI's Simon DeDeo, the strongest distinction between Clinton and Trump was not what, but who.

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.

Prediction: How good can we get?
Aug. 31, 2016 -

Scientists are getting better at prediction, but there’s good reason to believe we will eventually bump up against some fundamental limits. A recent workshop at SFI asked where those limits might be.

Study: Religious acts are perceived as conveying prosocial intent
Aug. 24, 2016 -

Whether it’s walking across hot coals or simply going to church on Sunday, people who participate in regular religious acts send a clear signal to others that they’re ready and willing to contribute to their communities, a new study suggests.

Happening now at SFI: The neurobiology of recognizing faces in a crowd
Aug. 16, 2016 -

How do we recognize a face in a crowd? Experts are at SFI this month to explore how our brains process relevant information in a sea of noise.

Electric vehicles could meet most driving needs across diverse US cities
- Nature Energy
Aug. 15, 2016 -

Most US drivers could perform their daily personal vehicle trips with an electric vehicle, according to a new model by SFI External Professor Jessika Trancik and colleagues.

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.

How microbiomes respond to disturbance
Aug. 2, 2016 -

To prepare for climate change, urbanization, or antibiotic resistance, we need to know how the microbial world we are immersed in will respond to stress. A recent SFI meeting sought progress.

Study: Replacing ill workers with healthy ones accelerates some epidemics
- Nature Physics
Aug. 1, 2016 -

A new network model shows that replacing infected front-line workers with healthy ones can actually accelerate the spread of certain infections.

Adaptive computation: The multidisciplinary legacy of John Holland
- Communications of the ACM
July 28, 2016 -

Stephanie Forrest and Melanie Mitchell recount the legacy of John Holland, a complexity science pioneer who passed away in August 2015.

Audio: SFI's Krakauer on information, order, computation, & intelligence
July 19, 2016 -

On the popular podcast "Waking Up with Sam Harris," SFI President David Krakauer weighs in on whether your brain is an information processor. It is, he says, because it converts disorder to order.

Superhuman: What are the limits to human performance?
July 18, 2016 -

A unique meeting at SFI in July brought together experts from fields as diverse as physics, neuroscience, sports, and dance to ask whether there are limits to human performance.

Paper: Group-navigating species may be vulnerable to collapse
- Movement Ecology
July 15, 2016 -

New research by SFI Omidyar Fellow Andrew Berdahl and collaborators reveals that populations relying on group navigation, such as migrating birds and salmon, could be vulnerable to sudden collapse.

Don't abandon national referendums, but smaller groups often make wiser choices
July 15, 2016 -

New research suggests that larger crowds do not always produce wiser decisions. Moderately-sized crowds are likely to outperform larger ones when faced with combinations of easy and difficult qualitative decisions.

How to detect hackers who know we’re on to them
- Journal of Network and Computer Applications
July 15, 2016 -

In a recent paper in the Journal of Network and Computer Applications, SFI Postdoc Justin Grana and his collaborators call on game theory to suggest a better way to stop cyber attackers.

Enroll now for the Dynamics and Chaos MOOC with David Feldman
July 6, 2016 -

SFI's free online course, Introduction to Dynamical Systems and Chaos with College of the Atlantic professor David Feldman, begins July 5. Topics to be covered include: phase space, bifurcations, chaos, the butterfly effect, strange attractors, and pattern formation.

Tracking animal migrations has become easier... now what?
June 30, 2016 -

During a working group this week at SFI, roughly a dozen ecologists and computer scientists will explore ways emerging technologies might help researchers better understand why and how individuals in migrating groups make the choices they do.

Migrate or cooperate? SFI working group tackles evolutionary fork-in-the-road
June 29, 2016 -

Researchers meet at SFI this week to understand how two evolutionary strategies -- migration and cooperation -- might have co-evolved, and in what situations one strategy prevails.

Jim Hartle elected to the American Philosophical Society
June 29, 2016 -

SFI External Professor Jim Hartle has been named a member of the American Philosophical Society.

Does nature favor cool computations?
- Entropy
June 22, 2016 -

Imprecise, noisy computations can actually cool a biological system, according to a new analysis by SFI Professor David Wolpert.

Where, when, and which energy storage systems make sense for utilities offering wind and solar
- Nature Climate Change
June 20, 2016 -

In a study published in Nature Climate Change, SFI External Professor Jessika Trancik and colleagues assess the market value of storage technology such as batteries, pumped hydroelectric, and compressed air energy storage.

What drives biological synchrony?
June 8, 2016 -

Researchers are gathered at SFI this week to understand what drives biological "synchrony": rapid, widespread rises and falls in populations.

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