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Newswise: Santa Fe Institute receives $50 million from Bill Miller
Released: 9-Nov-2021 12:55 PM EST
Santa Fe Institute receives $50 million from Bill Miller
Santa Fe Institute

In the largest single donation in its history, the nonprofit Santa Fe Institute will receive $50 million from legendary investor Bill Miller. The gift will advance the Institute's pioneering science of complex systems by growing its research community and expanding the facilities in which it works.

Released: 26-Aug-2021 4:40 PM EDT
A new model for group decision-making shows how 'followers' can influence the outcome
Santa Fe Institute

From small committees to national elections, group decision-making can be complicated — and it may not always settle on the best choice.

Released: 17-Aug-2021 3:40 PM EDT
Study: As cities grow in size, the poor 'get nothing at all'
Santa Fe Institute

On average, people in larger cities are better off economically. But a new study published in the Royal Society Interface builds on previous research that says, that’s not necessarily true for the individual city-dweller. It turns out, bigger cities also produce more income inequality.

Released: 30-Jun-2021 4:30 PM EDT
Researchers Look to Human ‘Social Sensors’ to Better Predict Elections and other Trends
Santa Fe Institute

Social scientists can gather highly accurate information about social trends and groups by asking about a person’s social circle rather than interrogating their own individual beliefs.

Released: 16-Jun-2021 11:25 AM EDT
Study: Complexity Holds Steady as Writing Systems Evolve
Santa Fe Institute

A new paper in the journal Cognition examines the visual complexity of written language and how that complexity has evolved.

Released: 7-Jun-2021 4:10 PM EDT
Mandating vaccination could reduce voluntary compliance
Santa Fe Institute

A new study based on evidence from Germany and on a model of the dynamic nature of people’s resistance to COVID-19 vaccination sounds an alarm: mandating vaccination could have a substantial negative impact on voluntary compliance.

Released: 7-Jun-2021 11:05 AM EDT
Applying mathematics takes ‘friendship paradox’ beyond averages
Santa Fe Institute

In network science, the famous "friendship paradox" describes why your friends are (on average) more popular, richer, and more attractive than you are. But a slightly more nuanced picture emerges when we apply mathematics to real-world data.

24-May-2021 11:00 AM EDT
Mobility data reveals universal law of visitation in cities
Santa Fe Institute

New research published in Nature provides a powerful yet surprisingly simple way to determine the number of visitors to any location in a city.

Released: 3-May-2021 10:25 AM EDT
When will your elevator arrive?
Santa Fe Institute

The human world is, increasingly, an urban one — and that means elevators. Two physicists saw this as an opportunity to explore the factors that determine elevator transport capabilities in their new paper in the Journal of Statistical Mechanics.

26-Apr-2021 10:45 AM EDT
First Australian populations followed footpath ‘superhighways’ across the continent
Santa Fe Institute

By simulating the physiology and decisions of early way-finders, an international team of archaeologists, geographers, ecologists, and computer scientists has mapped the probable “superhighways” that led to the first peopling of the Australian continent some 50,000-70,000 years ago.

Released: 30-Mar-2021 2:00 PM EDT
Study: Insights from two reopened schools during the COVID-19 pandemic
Santa Fe Institute

During the 2020-2021 fall semester, school districts around the United States navigated their reopening plans with little data on how SARS-CoV-2 spreads among children or how in-person learning would impact transmission in the schools’ communities. A new study in The Journal of School Health joins a growing body of evidence that, with appropriate measures, there are ways for schools to safely reopen.

Released: 4-Mar-2021 12:05 PM EST
Animal aggression depends on rank within social hierarchies
Santa Fe Institute

New research shows that the more animals know about each other, the more they may be able to optimize their aggression.

Released: 25-Jan-2021 5:25 PM EST
To find the right network model, compare all possible histories
Santa Fe Institute

Scientists rarely have the historical data they need to see exactly how nodes in a network became connected. But a new paper in Physical Review Letters offers hope for reconstructing the missing information, using a new method to evaluate the rules that generate network models.

12-Jan-2021 4:05 PM EST
Accounting for the gaps in ancient food webs
Santa Fe Institute

Studying ancient food webs can help scientists reconstruct communities of species, many long extinct, and even use those insights to figure out how modern-day communities might change in the future. There’s just one problem: only some species left enough of a trace for scientists to find eons later, leaving large gaps in the fossil record — and researchers’ ability to piece together the food webs from the past. A new paper shines a light on those gaps and points the way to how to account for them.

Released: 7-Jan-2021 12:30 PM EST
An Avalanche of Violence: New Analysis Reveals Predictable Patterns in Armed Conflicts
Santa Fe Institute

New work by the Collective Computation Group (C4) at the Santa Fe Institute finds that human conflict exhibits remarkable regularity despite substantial geographic and cultural differences.

Released: 20-Nov-2020 1:10 PM EST
Study: Countering hate on social media
Santa Fe Institute

The rise of online hate speech is a disturbing, growing trend in countries around the world, with serious psychological consequences and the potential to impact, and even contribute to, real-world violence. A new paper offers a framework for studying the dynamics of online hate and counter speech, and offers the first large-scale classification of millions of instances such interactions on Twitter.

27-Oct-2020 3:15 PM EDT
The Rhythm of Change: What a Drum-Beat Experiment Reveals About Cultural Evolution
Santa Fe Institute

Living organisms aren’t the only things that evolve over time. Cultural practices change, too, and in recent years social scientists have taken a keen interest in understanding this cultural evolution. A new experiment used drum-beats to investigate the role that environment plays on cultural shifts, confirming that different environments do indeed give rise to different cultural patterns.

Released: 23-Sep-2020 11:25 AM EDT
Tiny worlds reveal fundamental drivers of abundance, diversity
Santa Fe Institute

Ecology is traditionally a data-poor discipline, but tiny microbial worlds offer the quantity of data needed to solve universal questions about abundance and diversity. New research in Nature Communications reveals the fundamental relationship between the environment and the species present in a microbial community and can be used as a starting point for investigating bigger systems.

Released: 10-Aug-2020 4:10 PM EDT
New model shows how voting behavior can drive political parties apart
Santa Fe Institute

If voters gravitate toward the center of the political spectrum, why are the parties drifting farther apart? A new model reveals a mechanism for increased polarization in U.S. politics, guided by the idea of "satisficing"-- that people will settle for a candidate who is "good enough."

Released: 27-Jul-2020 12:30 PM EDT
Leaving money on the table to stay in the game: New paper squares economic choice with evolutionary survival
Santa Fe Institute

Unlike businesses or governments, organisms can't go into evolutionary debt -- there is no borrowing one's way back from extinction. This can lead to seemingly irrational economic choices that suddenly make sense when viewed as a multiplicative, evolutionary process.

2-Jul-2020 1:30 PM EDT
More ecosystem engineers create stability, preventing extinctions
Santa Fe Institute

Biological builders like beavers, elephants, and shipworms re-engineer their environments. How this affects their ecological network is the subject of new research, which finds that increasing the number of "ecosystem engineers" stabilizes the entire network against extinctions.

Released: 29-May-2020 12:05 PM EDT
New model predicts the peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic
Santa Fe Institute

This week in the journal Frontiers, researchers describe a single function that accurately describes all existing available data on active COVID-19 cases and deaths—and predicts forthcoming peaks.

Released: 20-Apr-2020 12:35 PM EDT
COVID-19 U.S. Employment Shocks Likely Larger Than Great Depression
Santa Fe Institute

The U.S. is likely to see a near-term 24% drop in employment, 17% percent drop in wages, and 22% drop in economic activity as a result of the COVID-19 crisis according to a new study. These impacts will be very unevenly distributed, with the bottom quarter of earners at risk of a 42% loss in employment and bearing a 30% share of total wage losses. In contrast, the study estimates the top quarter of earners only risk a 7% drop in employment and an 18% share of wage losses.

Released: 15-Apr-2020 5:30 PM EDT
What is an individual? Information Theory may provide the answer
Santa Fe Institute

Despite the near-universal assumption of individuality in biology, there is little agreement about what individuals are and few rigorous quantitative methods for their identification. A new approach may solve the problem by defining individuals in terms of informational processes.

Released: 7-Apr-2020 8:20 AM EDT
Complexity scientists available to discuss implications of COVID-19 pandemic
Santa Fe Institute

The COVID-19 pandemic is an example of complexity in action. Researchers who study complex systems are available to answer questions on topics such as why systems collapse, the nature of an evolving virus and its ecology, how networks spread disease and economic instability, the mathematics of modeling outbreaks, the way decision-making modifies disease spread, and other ideas that touch on the disease.

Released: 3-Feb-2020 12:55 PM EST
If cancer were easy, every cell would do it
Santa Fe Institute

A new paper puts an evolutionary twist on a classic question. Instead of asking why we get cancer, researchers at Osnabrück University and the Santa Fe Institute use signaling theory to explore how our bodies have evolved to keep us from getting more cancer.

Released: 18-Dec-2019 12:55 PM EST
‘Like a video game with health points,’ energy budgets explain evolutionary body size
Santa Fe Institute

Budgeting resources isn’t just a problem for humans preparing a holiday dinner, or squirrels storing up nuts for the winter. A new model of how animals budget their energy sheds light on how they live and explains why they tend to evolve toward larger body sizes. The research, published in PNAS, proposes that animal energy budgets are governed by a key mechanism: resource variation — a measure of how spread out or clumped up food and water are.

28-Nov-2019 11:00 AM EST
This ‘Fix’ for Economic Theory Changes Everything From Gambles to Inequality to Ponzi Schemes
Santa Fe Institute

Whether we decide to take out that insurance policy, buy Bitcoin, or switch jobs, many economic decisions boil down to a fundamental gamble about how to maximize our wealth over time. How we understand these decisions is the subject of a new perspective piece in Nature Physics that aims to correct a foundational mistake in economic theory.

Released: 26-Nov-2019 4:40 PM EST
How to measure inequality as 'experienced difference'
Santa Fe Institute

Researchers propose a novel twist on the widely used Gini coefficient—a workhorse statistical measure for gauging the gap between haves and have-nots.

Released: 24-Oct-2019 1:05 PM EDT
Scientists, legal scholars fight for transparency and fairness in housing algorithms
Santa Fe Institute

the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposal to dramatically revise the Fair Housing Act. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has proposed new legislation that would absolve landlords and lenders from any legal responsibility for discrimination that results from a third-party computer algorithm.

Released: 16-Oct-2019 4:35 PM EDT
Information Theory as a Tool for Extracting Climate Signals
Santa Fe Institute

During Earth’s last glacial period, temperatures on the planet periodically spiked dramatically and rapidly. A new paper in the journal Chaos suggests that mathematics from information theory could offer a powerful tool for analyzing and understanding these mysterious events.

Released: 11-Oct-2019 1:25 PM EDT
Private Property, Not Productivity, Precipitated Neolithic Agricultural Revolution
Santa Fe Institute

The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution is one of the most thoroughly-studied episodes in prehistory. But a new paper by Sam Bowles and Jung-Kyoo Choi shows that most explanations for it don’t agree with the evidence, and offers a new interpretation.

Released: 19-Sep-2019 4:35 PM EDT
Where to Park Your Car, According to Math
Santa Fe Institute

In a world where the best parking space is the one that minimizes time spent in the lot, two physicists compare parking strategies and settle on a prudent approach.

Released: 18-Sep-2019 9:00 AM EDT
Study: Bigger cities boost ‘social crimes’
Santa Fe Institute

The same underlying mechanism that boosts urban innovation and startup businesses can also explain why certain types of crimes, like car theft and robbery, thrive in a larger population.

Released: 18-Sep-2019 8:45 AM EDT
Inequality: What we’ve learned from the ‘Robots of the late Neolithic’
Santa Fe Institute

Seven thousand years ago, societies across Eurasia began to show signs of lasting divisions between haves and have-nots. In new research published in the journal Antiquity, scientists chart the precipitous surge of prehistoric inequality and trace its economic origins back to the adoption of ox-drawn plows.

9-Aug-2019 3:05 PM EDT
It’s Not You, It’s the Network
Santa Fe Institute

The result of the 2016 US presidential election was, for many, a surprise lesson in social perception bias — peoples’ tendency to assume that others think as we do, and to underestimate the size and influence of a minority party. Long documented in psychological literature, a panoply of social perception biases play out differently in different contexts. Many psychologists attribute the source of these biases to faulty cognitive processes like “wishful thinking” or “social projection,” but according to a study published August 12 in Nature Human Behaviour, the structure of our social networks might offer a simpler explanation.

Released: 1-Aug-2019 2:05 PM EDT
Three concepts from complexity could play a big role in social animal research
Santa Fe Institute

A new paper in Animal Behaviour lays out three concepts from complex systems science that could advance studies into animal social complexity.

Released: 24-Jul-2019 11:05 AM EDT
How random tweaks in timing can lead to new game theory strategies
Santa Fe Institute

Most game theory models don’t reflect the relentlessly random timing of the real world. In a new paper, two economists and a physicist model what happens when players receive information or act at random times, which could make a big difference in decision-making.

23-Jun-2019 9:05 PM EDT
A new normal: Study explains universal pattern in fossil record
Santa Fe Institute

Instead of the typical bell-shaped curve, the fossil record shows a fat-tailed distribution, with extreme, outlier, events occurring with higher-than-expected probability. Using the same mathematical tools that describe stock market crashes, Santa Fe Institute scientists explain the evolutionary dynamics that give rise to universal patterns in the fossil record.

Released: 3-Jun-2019 3:45 PM EDT
From there to here: 2019 InterPlanetary Festival connects frontiers of space to terrestrial challenges
Santa Fe Institute

Leading scientists and sci-fi authors convene in Santa Fe, NM to discuss how to sustain human civilization, on and beyond Earth. Select panel discussions will stream live from the June 14-16 festival.

26-Apr-2019 4:05 PM EDT
'Pedigree Is Not Destiny' When It Comes to Scholarly Success
Santa Fe Institute

A new analysis of academic productivity finds researchers' current working environments better predict their future success than the prestige of their doctoral training.

18-Apr-2019 11:05 AM EDT
Group decisions: When more information isn't necessarily better
Santa Fe Institute

Modular -- or cliquey -- group structure isolates the flow of communication between individuals, which might seem counterproductive to survival. But for some animal groups, more information isn't necessarily better, according to new SFI research published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Released: 16-Apr-2019 1:05 PM EDT
At last, acknowledging royal women's political power
Santa Fe Institute

Across the globe in a variety of societies, royal women found ways to advance the issues they cared about and advocate for the people important to them as detailed in a recent paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Research.

Released: 8-Apr-2019 11:05 AM EDT
The cost of computation
Santa Fe Institute

There's been a rapid resurgence of interest in understanding the energy cost of computing. Recent advances in this "thermodynamics of computation" are summarized in a new review published in the Journal of Physics A.

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