Exploring Complexity in Science and Technology from a Santa Fe Institute Perspective - Faculty 2011

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Melanie Mitchell, Professor, Computer Science, Portland State University; External Professor and Science Board member, Santa Fe Institute. Melanie Mitchell received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan in 1990. Since then she has held faculty or professional positions at the University of Michigan, the Santa Fe Institute, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the OGI School of Science and Engineering, and Portland State University.

Melanie has served as Director of the Santa Fe Institute’s Complex Systems Summer School; at Portland State University she teaches, among other courses, Exploring Complexity in Science and Technology.

Her major work is in the areas of analogical reasoning, complex systems, genetic algorithms and cellular automata, and her publications in those fields are frequently cited. She is the author of An Introduction to Genetic Algorithms, a widely known introductory book published by MIT Press in 1996. Her most recent book is Complexity: A Guided Tour named by as one of the 10 best science books of 2009.

Program Faculty:

Melanie Mitchell (Course Director), Professor, Computer Science, Portland State University; External Professor, Santa Fe Institute. Author, Complexity: A Guided Tour (Oxford).

W. Brian Arthur, Researcher, Intelligent Systems Lab, PARC; External Professor, Santa Fe Institute. Author, The Nature of Technology: What it is and How it Evolves (Simon & Schuster).

Aaron Clauset, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder; former Santa Fe Institute Omidyar Fellow.


J. Doyne Farmer is a professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He has broad interests in complex systems, and has done research in dynamical systems theory, time series analysis and theoretical biology. At present his main interest is in developing quantitative theories for social evolution, in particular for financial markets (which provide an accurate record of decision making in a complex environment) and the evolution of new technologies (whose performance through time provides a quantitative record of human achievement). He was a founder of Prediction Company, a quantitative trading firm that was recently sold to the United Bank of Switzerland, and was their chief scientist from 1991 - 1999. During the eighties he worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he was an Oppenheimer Fellow, founding the Complex Systems Group in the theoretical division. He began his career as part of the U.C. Santa Cruz Dynamical Systems Collective, a group of physics graduate students who did early research in what later came to be called "chaos theory". In his spare time during graduate school he led a group that designed and built the first wearable digital computers (which were used to beat the game of roulette). For popular press see The Newtonian Casino by Thomas Bass, Chaos by Jim Gleick, Complexity by Mitch Waldrup, and The Predictors by Thomas Bass.

David Krakauer, Professor and Chair of the Faculty, Santa Fe Institute.

Uri Wilensky, Professor, Learning Sciences and Computer Science, Northwestern University; developer of the NetLogo agent-based modeling platform.