Science is slowly shifting away from equations toward algorithms, writes W. Brian Arthur in an essay published by the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics. Thinking algorithmically, he says, gives researchers a way to study ideas like unpredictability and emergence.
What types of infrastructure improvements will it take to speed the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs)? In a Nature Energy paper published January 21, SFI External Professor Jessika Trancik and her co-authors at MIT report a new methodology designed to identify which locations for vehicle charging stations could be prioritized
Scientists rarely have the historical data they need to see exactly how nodes in a network became connected. But a new paper by SFI's George Cantwell offers hope for reconstructing the missing information, using a new method to evaluate the rules that generate network models.
In a perspective piece published in Nature Machine Intelligence in January 2021, SFI External Professor Stephanie Forrest and co-author describe how evolutionary computation compares to biological evolution — and how it diverges in three key ways.
If we understand city laws, SFI's Chris Kempes and Geoffrey West argue in their op-ed at The Bridge, they can help us navigate the pitfalls of our rapidly urbanizing world — including planning for pandemics like COVID-19.
Studying ancient food webs can help scientists reconstruct communities of species, many long extinct, and even use those insights to figure out how modern-day communities might change in the future. There’s just one problem: only some species left enough of a trace for scientists to find eons later, leaving large gaps in the fossil record — and researchers’ ability to piece together the food webs from the past.
A new paper by paleoecologist Jack Shaw, SFI's Jennifer Dunne, and other researchers shines a light on those gaps and points the way to how to account for them.
What makes an explanation good enough? As a personal matter, people have different answers to this question, and not all of them agree, says a new paper in Trends in Cognitive Sciences by Simon DeDeo and Zachary Wojtowicz. The authors use Bayes’ Rule, a famous theorem in probability and statistics, to investigate what we value in scientific and moral explanations.
Parts of the planet that are diverse biologically and culturally are even more diverse than you’d expect. A group of SFI collaborators developed a theory to show why richer environments are also more complex environments, where you tend to find more species and languages.
The use and spread of disinformation has quickly eroded trust in institutions that serve as the bedrocks of our society, such as science, the media, and government.
In a white paper for the Computing Community Consortium (CCC), a group of researchers including SFI's Joshua Garland and Elizabeth Bradley outline steps to begin dealing with the disinformation problem.
It’s widely assumed within the evolutionary biology field that weak selection provides an advantage to an organism’s ability to evolve. But new research, published in the journal Science, may offer the first experimental proof that strong selection pressure enhances an organism's evolvability, by boosting robustness.
New book: Complexity Economics explores paradigm-busting influence of complex systems science on economics
In a new book published by the SFI Press, editors W. Brian Arthur, Eric Beinhocker, and Allison Stanger explore the paradigm-busting influence of complex systems science on economics.
In their op-ed for Nautilus, SFI External Professor Melanie Moses (University of New Mexico) and her colleague Kathy L. Powers (University of New Mexico), argue that if scientists are to help public health policymakers meet their stated goal of protecting the most vulnerable, they must refine their methods to focus on the complex systems that govern communities that are most at risk.
The rise of online hate speech is a disturbing, growing trend in countries around the world, with serious psychological consequences and the potential to impact, and even contribute to, real-world violence. A new paper offers a framework for studying the dynamics of online hate and counter speech, and offers the first large-scale classification of millions of instances such interactions on Twitter.
In a post-election op-ed for The Conversation, SFI Professor Mirta Galesic and Wändi Bruine de Bruin at USC Dornsife describe their polling research with colleagues Henrik Olssen, SFI External Professor, and Drazen Prelec at MIT. The team found that if polls start to ask questions about how people think members of their social circle or state will vote, they tend to predict results with far greater accuracy.
Until now, systems far from thermal equilibrium couldn’t be analyzed with conventional thermodynamics and statistical physics. In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, David Wolpert presents a new hybrid formalism to overcome these limitations.
Living organisms aren’t the only things that evolve over time. Cultural practices change, too, and in recent years social scientists have taken a keen interest in understanding this cultural evolution. A new experiment used drum-beats to investigate the role that environment plays on cultural shifts, confirming that different environments do indeed give rise to different cultural patterns.