SFI Professor Melanie Mitchell (image: Gabriella Marks)

SFI Professor Melanie Mitchell was named the 2023 Senior Scientific Award recipient by the Complex Systems Society on 20 October in Bahia, Brazil. Mitchell was recognized by the Society for her “outstanding contributions to adaptive computation, biologically inspired computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cognition from the lens of complexity science and education of broad audiences about complex systems.”

Mitchell accepted the award virtually, and as is the tradition, delivered a keynote speech. “I’m thrilled and honored to receive this award from the Complex Systems Society, which has done so much to promote the study and communication of complex systems science,” says Mitchell.

Mitchell’s research focuses on conceptual abstraction, analogy-making, and visual recognition in artificial intelligence systems. She is also the author of Complexity: A Guided Tour and Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans. Both books have been pivotal in creating better understanding among the public about complexity science and AI research.

In addition, Mitchell started Complexity Explorer, an SFI education project, 10 years ago. The project has reached over 64,000 users all over the world. “Introduction to Complexity” with Melanie Mitchell was the first course offered and it had over 7,000 students enrolled in the very first year and is one of Course Central’s “top 50 online courses of all time”. The course continues to have thousands of new participants enrolled annually, inspiring new generation of complexity scientists.

The Complex Systems Society created the Senior Scientific Award in 2014 to recognize pioneers working in complex systems research who have made outstanding contributions to the field. The society aims to promote complex systems research at all levels.