Researchers from 15 institutions in the U.S. and Japan gathered in Santa Fe Dec. 7-9 for a three-day workshop, Models of Emergent Behavior in Complex Adaptive Systems.

The workshop was jointly sponsored by SFI and the Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (ICAM), a multi-institution research program of the University of California. The workshop’s focus was exploring similarities and differences in the emergent behaviors of complex adaptive systems when viewed from many scientific perspectives.

Each speaker was challenged to speculate as to how advances in their own fields might apply elsewhere. According to workshop co-organizer David Pines, who is ICAM’s co-director and SFI Science Board member, the gathering resulted in a number of fruitful cross-disciplinary discussions about how understanding emergent behavior in one system can inform research across time and scale in fields ranging from biochemistry to archeology.

“A meeting like this is all about the people,” says David. “It was a special opportunity to transfer ideas from one field to another and to make unexpected connections. New ideas and applications emerged from the talks and the discussion, and many participants left with a sense of new directions they might wish to pursue.”

The workshop’s organizers included David, Simon Levin (SFI Science Board Co-Chair and Moffett Professor of Biology at Princeton University), and Carl Simon (Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan).

Through ICAM, scientists from 52 branches representing many fields and institutions collaborate in identifying major new research themes and carry out collaborative research in complex adaptive matter. For more information: http://

For a list of workshop speakers, www.