Santa Fe Institute

Research News

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Don't abandon national referendums, but smaller groups often make wiser choices
June 28, 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.

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.

Paper: Human niche construction has re-shaped the biosphere
- PNAS
June 8, 2016 -

Human niche construction has dramatically re-shaped the global biosphere over time, according to newly published research by SFI External Professor Melinda Zeder.

Aaron Clauset receives Erdos-Renyi Prize for Young Scientists
- NetSci
June 3, 2016 -

This week, SFI External Professor Aaron Clauset received the 2016 Erdős–Rényi Prize for Young Scientists from the Network Science Society. 

Crop prevalence adds to evidence of human migration patterns
- PNAS
June 2, 2016 -

Crop prevalence adds to the evidence that Madagascar and the Comoros Islands were colonized by people from South Asian Islands rather than from Africa, a new paper suggests.

Science Board member Simon Levin wins National Medal of Science for his research in ecological complexity
May 20, 2016 -

This week the president awarded SFI's Simon Levin the U.S. National Medal of Science—the nation’s highest honor for achievement and leadership in science. 

Happening now at SFI: Working group seeks new algorithms for an old problem
May 16, 2016 -

Deciding whether two symmetries are alike is a longstanding problem in group theory, the mathematical study of symmetry. This week at SFI, a working group meets to tackle the mathematical curiosity with implications across diverse scientific fields.

Applying complexity in The City Different
May 6, 2016 -

SFI and the City of Santa Fe join a federally funded initiative to find innovative solutions to local urban issues.

Chimpanzee fig selection sheds light on primate motor skills evolution
April 26, 2016 -

In a new study published in the Royal Society's Interface Focus, Justin Yeakel and colleagues explore the role fruit selection may have had on the evolution of primate motor skills.

Accounting for politics in green energy transitions
April 22, 2016 -

A new computational model by SFI Omidyar Fellow Marion Dumas and colleagues forecasts 50-year carbon emissions under differing political scenarios.

In first 72 Hours of Science, SFI postdocs test the limits of transdisciplinary science
April 20, 2016 -

In a test of the limits of scientific collaboration, 15 postdocs holed up in a home in the New Mexico foothills recently for three days and nights of intense scientific research. Their goal: produce a novel research paper in just 72 hours.

Paper: Novelty's not the sole source of invention
- EPJ Data Science
April 17, 2016 -

The economic impact of a new invention depends on its novelty and its conventionality, according to new research by SFI's Hyejin Youn and co-authors.

Human psychology and why we can't seem to get our heads around climate change
- BioScience
April 15, 2016 -

A new article co-authored by a number of SFI-affiliated researchers explores the psychological barriers that drive our distinct lack of “foresight intelligence” regarding climate change and our failure to take mitigating steps.

Systemic risk tax could diminish cascading failures in interbank lending
- Quantitative Finance
April 13, 2016 -

 In Quantitative Finance, SFI External Professor Stefan Thurner and colleagues suggest that a tax on interbank loans scaled to the risk each transaction adds to the system would more effectively limit financial systemic risk than proposed "one size fits all" risk taxes.

What can we learn from the farming insects?
April 11, 2016 -

Humans aren't the only species that farms; leafcutter ants, termites, and some beetles grow their own food. A working group met recently at SFI to explore the evolution of agriculture in insects and humans.

Scientists: Complexity theory can play a role in financial regulation and prediction
- Science
April 11, 2016 -

Deploying ideas and tools from complexity science in the financial sector would go a long way toward stabilizing global financial markets, according to a group of scientists writing today in Science

SFI to participate in unprecedented evolutionary research project
April 8, 2016 -

A collaboration of international researchers, including four SFI scientists, has been awarded $8 million to extend our understanding of evolution.

Bacteria must make evolutionary size vs. function tradeoffs
April 5, 2016 -

Upper and lower bounds on the sizes of bacteria and the physiological tradeoffs that constrain these size limits are explored in a new paper co-authored by SFI Omidyar Fellow Chris Kempes.

Tree rings offer new views of human history
- Science Advances
April 1, 2016 -

A new analysis shows how tree ring data can help examine the social and demographic movements of ancient peoples. 

In memoriam: Harold Morowitz
March 30, 2016 -

Harold Morowitz, a leading figure in shaping the scientific and popular understanding of the chemical origins of life on Earth, passed away March 22 in Fairfax, Va.

Hybrid vaccination protocol could cut whooping cough cases by 95 percent
- JAMA Pediatrics
March 29, 2016 -

Whooping cough is on the rise in the US, and the adoption of a new vaccine in the 1990s is part of the explanation. Two former SFI Omidyar Fellows propose a hybrid vaccination protocol they say could slash cases by 95 percent.

Researchers examining human response to climate stress
March 28, 2016 -

Researchers met at SFI recently to make progress on the Artificial Long House Valley model, an agent-based model that is shedding light on human responses to environmental stress.

Islands as microcosms for understanding interplay of ecological, environmental, and social systems
- GigaScience
March 25, 2016 -

In a recent paper, SFI Professor Jennifer Dunne and colleagues present their Island Digital Ecosystem Avatars concept, which models changes to an island's socioecosystem dynamics.

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