CSSS 2006 Beijing-Public Lectures

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CSSS 2006 Beijing

James Crutchfield

Wednesday 19 July. 19:30.

James Crutchfield. (Professor of Physics, Computational Science & Engineering Center University of California, Davis. External Faculty, Santa Fe Institute.)

Is Anything Ever New?

We are confronted, as never before, with an explosion in the size of databases: from data-mining the web to dynamical brain imaging, the various genome projects, and near-real-time skymaps for dynamical cosmology. These datasets are so vast that there is no conceivable way humans can directly examine all of the data. What has been an intuitive and very human discovery process---hypothesizing structures and building predictive theories about the systems that produce them---must now be automated. But do we understand the notions of structure and pattern well enough that we can teach machines to discover them? How do we build theories that capture patterns in useful and predictive ways? I will review recent results on automated pattern discovery and theory building for nonlinear systems. The lessons hint at what a future "artificial" science might look like.

Herbert Gintis

Monday 31 July. 19:30.

Herbert Gintis. (Professor, Central European University, Budapest. Visiting Professor, University of Siena, Italy. External Faculty, Santa Fe Institute)

Structural Conflicts among the Behavioral Disciplines: A Way Forward

The various behavioral disciplines model human behavior in distinct and incompatible ways. Yet, recent theoretical and empirical developments have created the conditions for rendering coherent the areas of overlap of the various behavioral disciplines, as outlined in this paper. The analytical tools deployed in this task incorporate core principles from several behavioral disciplines. The proposed framework recognizes evolutionary theory, covering both genetic and cultural evolution, as the integrating principle of behavioral science. Moreover, if decision theory and game theory are broadened to encompass other-regarding preferences, they become capable of modeling all aspects of decision making, including those normally considered "psychological," "sociological" or "anthropological." The mind as a decision-making organ then becomes the organizing principle of psychology.