W. Brian Arthur

External Professor

W. Brian Arthur is an External Faculty Member at the Santa Fe Institute, IBM Faculty Fellow, and Visiting Researcher in the Intelligent Systems Lab at PARC (formerly Xerox Parc). From 1983 to 1996 he was Morrison Professor of Economics and Population Studies at Stanford University. He holds a Ph.D. from Berkeley in Operations Research, and has other degrees in economics, engineering and mathematics.

Arthur pioneered the modern study of positive feedbacks or increasing returns in the economy—in particular their role in magnifying small, random events in the economy. This work has gone on to become the basis of our understanding of the high-tech economy. He has recently published a new book: The Nature of Technology: What it Is and How it Evolves, "an elegant and powerful theory of technology's origins and evolution." He is also one of the pioneers of the science of complexity.

Arthur was the first director of the Economics Program at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, and has served on SFI's Science Board and Board of Trustees. He is the recipient of the Schumpeter Prize in economics, the Lagrange Prize in complexity science, and two honorary doctorates.

Arthur is a frequent keynote speaker on such topics as: How exactly does innovation work and how can it be fostered? What is happening in the economy, and how should we rethink economics? How is the digital revolution playing out in the economy? How will US and European national competitiveness fare, given the rise of China and India?