A systematic understanding of self-similarity can change the way you see the world — from clouds and coastlines to earthquakes and cities.

In this course, running February 19 through April 17, participants will first be introduced to self-similar geometric objects such as trees, ferns, clouds, and mountain ranges, learning how to calculate the dimension for different types of fractals. The course will then delve into fractal distributions that result from processes that unfold in space and/or time. Earthquake severity, the frequency of words in texts, the sizes of cities, and the number of links to websites are all examples of this second type of fractal distribution, which exhibit constant statistical relationships across scales.

"It was fascinating to see how the concept of scaling can apply to such a wide range of physical and biological, and even sociological phenomena," noted a former course participant.

The free MOOC is offered through SFI’s Complexity Explorer. You can enroll and begin taking the course any time during the eight-week course.

Enroll here.

Watch an introduction to the course in this video featuring Professor David Feldman (5:09)