News + Events
The latest news and events at the Santa Fe Institute
Hedge funds can deceive you
December 17, 2008 / SFI External Professor Peyton Young and coauthor Dean Foster show how hedge funds have the power to deceive you in their study; The Hedge Fund Game: Incentives, Excess Returns, and Performance Mimics. They show how vulnerable the market is to unskilled traders. The unskilled trader may appear skilled and you wouldn’t know the difference until it is too late and the fund blows up.
SFI External Professor Rockmore researches topological structures in the equities market network
December 16, 2008 / SFI External Professor Daniel Rockmore and coresearchers study the complex systems of the financial markets. Rockmore and colleagues created the “partition decoupling method” (PDM) which combines the partition scrubbing method and the hierarchical spectral clustering method. The PDM would be used for decomposing the correlation networks of the markets. The end result would reveal interdependencies in the network components. This information would be useful in risk management and portfolio construction.
Experts: Thailand AIDS Vaccine Will Fail
Bette Korber, of the Santa Fe Institute, along with 21 other researchers — including Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of the AIDS virus- signed a short opinion piece recently published in the Journal of Science. The scientists believe that a $119 million federally funded experiment in which an AIDS vaccine is being tested on 16,000 volunteers in Thailand is doomed to fail and should never have been started. "They are taking two failed products and hoping that if they are combined that they are going to work," said Dennis Burton, an AIDS researcher at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. "Everything I've seen about the Thai trial suggests that it doesn't have a prayer." The experiment is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Pentagon and is being carried out by the Thai government.
Nature - Evo-Devo:Modeling the evolutionary possible
December 1, 2008 / SFI Postdoctoral Fellow Elhanan Borenstein and SFI Resident Professor David Krakauer developed a computational model which successfully illustrates the genotype-phenotype relationships in development and evolution. The model relates how a genetic input determines the phenotypic output. It also describes the phenotypic diversity across phylogeny.
SFI External Professor Newman's cartograms reflect more than red and blue states
SFI External Professor Mark Newman’s cartograms help explain the 2008 election results more accurately than general state maps. These cartograms maneuver the states in order to reflect the accurate size of the votes. Due to the even divisions of red and blue in some states, Newman’s cartograms show some purple.
SFI Professor Bowles researches “Parochial Altruism” in our ancestors
Through computer simulations SFI Professor Samuel Bowles and coauthors recreated conditions experienced by our Late Pleistocene ancestors. Through these simulations, Bowles shows evidence that parochial altruism is part of our human legacy.
Researchers look into social marketing in online communities
Online communities include people from many different groups and networks. Academics are now looking into the growth of these communities and how to market to them. SFI External Professor Duncan Watts shares his research regarding key influencers in reaching the masses.
SFI Professors create a model to predict growth and assimilation rates for mammals and birds
SFI Director Geoffrey B. West, along with SFI External Professors James H. Brown, William H. Woodruff, and Chen Hou create a quantitative, predictive model which differs from phenomenological models and from the dynamic energy budget theory. Their model also addresses imbalances such as starvation and overeating.
SFI External Professor Geanakoplos and collaborators address the current economic crisis in America
SFI External Professor John Geanakoplos and coauthor Susan Koniak offer some solutions to the current financial crisis in America. Their solution includes a plan to help more Americans keep their homes and stabilize housing prices.
Postdoc Buckley and co-researcher Jetz study species and environmental turnover
SFI Postdoctoral Fellow Lauren B. Buckley and coresearcher Walter Jetz provide an in depth study regarding the patterns of species and environmental turnover. They compare how amphibians and birds respond to the environmental changes.
Researchers found citation statistics may be compared across the disciplines
Several researchers have developed a mathematical computation which can be utilized to form direct comparisons between different academic disciplines. SFI External Professor Sidney Redner, a specialist in citation statistics, states not all disciplines would match this citation curve.
NewsHour turns the “Big Picture” toward the political and economic inequalities in New Mexico
PBS’s NewsHour’s economic correspondent Paul Solman interviews politicians regarding the economic differences throughout New Mexico. SFI Professor Samuel Bowles is also interviewed for an economists take on the situation.
NIH increases its support for high-impact research with $138 million
The National Institutes of Health announced today that it has increased its support of high-impact research with 2008 NIH Director’s Pioneer and New Innovator Awards to 47 scientists. Each Pioneer Award provides $2.5 million in direct costs over five years. New Innovator Awards are for $1.5 million in direct costs over the same time period. Included in the Pioneer Award recipients is Joshua M. Epstein, Ph.D., Brookings Institution Center on Social and Economic Dynamics director and Santa Fe Institute external professor, who will integrate behavioral factors into models of the development and progression of infectious and chronic diseases.
Hidden Infections Crucial to Understanding, Controlling Disease Outbreaks
Scientists at the University of Michigan, including Santa Fe Institute External Professor Mercedes Pascual, are researching the cycles of the infectious disease cholera by studying less dramatic, mild infections lurking in large numbers of people. Their findings will appear in Nature Magazine. Their goal was to understand the patterns of cholera, particularly the impact of infection-induced immunity on the dynamics of cholera outbreaks. Since it is difficult to get very sick from cholera, there are a lot of people who are walking around with the disease in high infection areas such as Bengal, and these researchers were interested in studying the consequences of this. Their findings showed that many more people are being exposed to the bacteria than are getting serious infections or dying, and that individuals with mild infections are losing their immunity quite quickly.
New Bluetooth System Orients Blind And Sighted Pedestrians
A new bluetooth system, called Talking Points, has been developed at the University of Michigan. The new system is primarily for the blind, but will also be useful for the sighted, and orients them to points of interest as they move around. It is the first step to an audio virtual reality. This is the first known system of its kind to use Bluetooth technology. "Location-based guide systems of one kind or another have been built and re-built by academic researchers for over a decade now, but this is the first project that has really focused on the needs of the visually impaired and gone out to make sure the system is being developed to meet those needs," said Mark Newman, co-author of the papers being presented and External Professor at Santa Fe Institute.
Peak oil "wrong," says Schwartz
Environmental futurist and Santa Fe Institute trustee Peter Schwartz says that peak oil is not a driver of clean technology and those that support it are wrong. The peak oil theory claims that US oil production would peak between 1965 — 1970. Schwartz, however, claims we do not know how much oil is out in the world, and that estimates are conservative.
Gorbachev calls for more international cooperation
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev decries America's military buildup since the Cold War and he is calling for more international cooperation in addressing political and environmental problems. Gorbachev says the growing U.S. defense budget is pushing other countries to do the same and he contends that the expansion of conventional weapons also will undermine efforts to abolish nuclear weapons. Gorbachev, who left office in 1991, was in Santa Fe to deliver a speech to benefit the Santa Fe Institute, a research and education center. He made his comments at a news conference before his lecture.
MIT: Turning 'funky' quantum mysteries into computing reality
The strange world of quantum mechanics can provide a way to surpass limits in speed, efficiency and accuracy of computing, communications and measurement, according to research by (SFI External Professor) MIT scientist Seth Lloyd. "There are limits, if you think classically," said Lloyd, a professor in MIT ’s Research Laboratory of Electronics and Department of Mechanical Engineering. But while classical physics imposes limits that are already beginning to constrain things like computer chip development and precision measuring systems, "once you think quantum mechanically you can start to surpass those limits," he said.