In a new paper, SFI Complexity Fellow Stefani Crabtree and Jennifer Dunne, SFI’s Vice President for Science, lay out the first comprehensive definition of archaeoecology, an emerging field that can fill a knowledge gap about important questions of how humans and nature interacted and shaped each other across different places and through time.
A new kind of predictive network model could help determine which people will change their minds about contentious scientific issues when presented with evidence-based information. A new study in Science Advances presents a framework to accurately predict whether a person will change their opinion about a certain topic. The approach estimates the amount of dissonance, or mental discomfort, a person has from holding conflicting beliefs about a topic.
Heatwaves are triggering wildfires and killing people around the globe. The climate emergency and the planet’s sixth mass extinction event have already begun. A special themed issue in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences addresses what actions have led us to this point and what we can do from here.
A general theory describing how life depends on temperature has been lacking — until now. In a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, research led by José Ignacio Arroyo, an SFI Postdoctoral Fellow, introduces a simple framework that rigorously predicts how temperature affects living things, at all scales.
By taking another look at the complex relationship between crime and society, researchers at the University of Chicago, including SFI External Professor James Evans, have developed an algorithm that can predict urban crime one week in advance with 90% accuracy. The study, published in Nature Human Behavior, analyzed eight cities — Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, and San Francisco — and found consistent results.
There's a complex paradox at play in the dynamics between mask-wearing and the spread of disease: While masking reduces transmission rates and consequently disease prevalence, the reduction of disease inhibits mask-wearing — thereby promoting epidemic revival. A new study led by researchers at the University of Virginia and co-authored by SFI's Simon Levin and Stefani Crabtree explores these complex dynamics.
The world is rife with rankings and orderings, but these hierarchies are only observed after the fact. That makes it difficult to know the true rankings of a system. In a recent paper published in Physical Review E, SFI's George Cantwell and Cris Moore offer a new model to evaluate rankings.
A new study in Nature Communications shows that we may have to go all the way down to a single city block to study disease spread, and that the key feature is to choose areas with a similar population density.
From hunter-gatherer encampments to modern cities, permanent human settlements tend to densify as the population grows, while mobile human settlements do the opposite. New research in Current Anthropology explores these dynamics and the conditions that might lead impermanent, spread-out communities to transition to denser, stationary settlements.
The laws of physics underlying everyday life are, at one level of description, completely known, and can be summarized in a single elegant — if quite complex — equation. That’s the claim Santa Fe Institute physicist Sean Carroll makes in a recent paper.
The advancement of everything from science to education relies in large part on the ability to come up with new ideas. But under what conditions is innovation most likely? To help answer this key question in the science realm, SFI External Professor Manfred Laubichler and colleagues developed a framework to identify the origins of innovation across one field: evolutionary medicine.
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests extreme polarization can be avoided when two sides of a stubbornly intolerant population have low exposure to each other. This paper is part of a PNAS special issue on the dynamics of polarization.
For the past few years, SFI Professor David Wolpert and physicist Artemy Kolchinsky, a former SFI postdoctoral fellow, have been collaborating to better understand the connection between thermodynamics and information processing in computation. Their latest exploration of the topic, published in Physical Review E, looks at applying these ideas to a wide range of classical and quantum areas, including quantum thermodynamics.
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, SFI External Professor Amy Bogaard and colleagues document the distribution of valuable artifacts across Southeast Asian gravesites over an era that spans from the Neolithic Period to the Agricultural Revolution.
In a new paper published in Physical Review X, SFI physicists David Wolpert and Artemy Kolchinsky explore more realistic bounds on entropy production by considering how constraints affect Landauer’s limit. Their approach to understanding how much work can be extracted from a physical system could lead to a better understanding of the thermodynamic efficiency of various real-world systems, ranging from biomolecular machines to recently-developed “information engines” that use information as fuel.
A new study by Santa Fe Institute researchers examines how scale affects factors like tuition, research production, and teaching salaries in different categories of colleges and universities. The research, published in PLOS ONE, is the first to systematically look at interconnected scaling effects in U.S. higher education.
Networks are a powerful model for describing connected systems in biological, physical, social, and other environments. As useful as they are, though, conventional networks are static and are limited to describing links between pairs of objects. In a paper published in Communications Physics, SFI Schmidt Science Fellow Yuanzhao Zhang and collaborators describe a new framework for simplifying the analysis of synchronization patterns in a wide variety of systems that include hypergraphs, temporal networks, and multilayer networks.
Is merit necessarily achieved, or does social status influence whether a person succeeds or is trapped in a system? Former SFI Postdoctoral Fellows Eleanor Power and Marion Dumas, together with their colleague Jessica Barker, explore these questions in a new paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.