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SFI ACtioN Topical Meeting
Co-hosted by GV


April 25, 2019
Held at GV, 1489 Charleston Rd, Mountain View, CA 94043


Speakers, Panelists & Moderators Include:

Sidney Redner
Santa Fe Institute

Sidney Redner received an A.B. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1972 and a Ph.D. in Physics from MIT in 1977. After a postdoctoral year at the University of Toronto, Sid joined the physics faculty at Boston University in 1978. During his 36 years at BU, he served as Acting Chair during two separate terms and also served as Departmental Chair. Sid has been a Visiting Scientist at Schlumberger-Doll Research in the mid 80's, the Ulam Scholar at LANL in 2004, and a sabbatical visitor at Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse France and at Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie in Paris.

Sid has published more than 250 articles in major peer-reviewed journals, as well as two books: the monograph A Guide to First-Passage Processes (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001) and the graduate text, jointly with P. L. Krapivsky and E. Ben-Naim, A Kinetic View of Statistical Physics (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010). He also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Informetrics, an Associate Editor for the Journal of Statistical Physics, and a Divisional Associate Editor for Physical Review Letters.


Melanie Moses
University of New Mexico & Santa Fe Institute

Melanie Moses studies complex biological and information systems, the scaling properties of networks, and the general rules governing the acquisition of energy and information in complex adaptive systems. Melanie's focus is on the efficiency of growth and information exchange in biological and computational networks, and how the size and topology of networks determine emergent system behavior. Melanie draws insights, tools and approaches from different disciplines in an effort to find unifying principles in the natural world.


Christina Thompson
Harvard University

Christina Thompson is the editor of Harvard Review and the author of Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia, published in March 2019 by Harper. Her first book, Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All (Bloomsbury, 2008), was shortlisted for the 2009 Douglas Stewart Prize and the 2010 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. A recipient of a 2016 Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities, she has received awards and fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, Arts Victoria, and the Australia Council. She teaches in the creative writing program at Harvard University Extension, where she was awarded the James E. Conway Excellence in Teaching Writing Award in 2008.


Dan Rockmore
Dartmouth College & Santa Fe Institute

Dan Rockmore is Neukom Director, William H. Neukom 1964 Distinguished Professor of Computational Science, and Associate Dean of Science faculty at Dartmouth College. Dan came to the College in 1991, after completing his undergraduate work at Princeton University and earning his Ph.D. at Harvard University. In 1995, he was one of 15 scientists awarded a five-year Presidential Faculty Fellowship from the White House for excellence in education and research. He is a member of the external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute and serves on the Science Steering Committee.


Alison Gopnik
University of Californina, Berkeley

Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her BA from McGill University and her PhD from Oxford University. She is an internationally recognized leader in the study of children’s learning and development and was one of the founders of the field of "theory of Mind", an originator of the "theory theory" of children's development, and more recently introduced the idea that probabilistic models and Bayesian inference could be applied to children's learning. She has held a Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences Fellowship, the Moore Distinguished Scholar fellowship at the California Institute of Technology, the All Souls College Distinguished Visiting Fellowship at Oxford, and King's College Distinguished Visiting Fellowship at Cambridge. She is an elected member of the Society of Experimental Psychologists and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a fellow of the Cognitive Science Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has been continuously supported by the NSF and was Principal Investigator on a 2.5 million dollar interdisciplinary collaborative grant on causal learning from the McDonnell Foundation. From 1997 to 2012, she was a loving trustee of the Santa Fe Institute.


Steve Liu
McGill University & Tinder

Dr. Xue (Steve) Liu is a Full Professor in the School of Computer Science and a William Dawson Scholar (Chair Professor) at McGill University. He is also a Profesor (courtesy appointment) of Mathematics and Statistics at McGill University. He is serving as the Chief Scientist at Tinder Inc., leading the research and innovation for the world's largest dating and social discovery app valued over $10 Billion. Dr. Liu is also a faculty and associate member of Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA).

At McGill University, Dr. Liu is also an associated member of the Center for Intelligent Machines (CIM), and an associated member of the Center for Advanced Systems and Technologies in Communications (SYTACom). He is a recipient of several awards including the 2017 Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership -- Professor; the Outstanding Young Canadian Computer Science Researcher Prizes from the Canadian Association of Computer Science in 2014; the NSERC/DND Discovery Grants Supplements Award in 2017; and the Tomlinson Scientist Award for "recognition of excellence and scientific leadership" at McGill University. He is the founding director of the Cyber-Physical Intelligence Lab at McGill University since 2007. He also worked briefly as the Samuel R. Thompson Chair Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, at Hewlett-Packard Labs in Palo Alto, California and IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in New York.


Vicky Chuqiao Yang
Santa Fe Institute

Vicky Chuqiao Yang's research is centered around understanding complex phenomena of the human society using mathematical tools. Her recent interests are in the effects of political ignorance in elections and collaboration in urban productivity. Through studying these problems, she wants to help people make sense of the increasingly complex society they live in. To achieve this goal, she works in transdisciplinary teams, often with social scientists, physicists, and mathematicians. Her approach involves two aspects: building mechanistic models from first principles, and using real-world datasets to inform and validate these models.

She received a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Northwestern University. She holds an M.S. in applied mathematics from Northwestern University, and dual-major B.S. in Physics and Mathematical Sciences from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


Daryl Fairweather is the chief economist of Redfin. Prior to joining Redfin she was a senior economist at Amazon working on problems related to employee engagement and managing a team of analysts. During the housing crisis, Daryl worked as a researcher at the Boston Fed studying why homeowners entered foreclosure. Daryl received her Bachelor's of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received her Ph.D. and Master's degrees in economics at the University of Chicago where she specialized in behavioral economics.


Graham Spencer
GV & SFI Trustee

Graham Spencer is a managing partner at GV.

Graham was one of the original 6 founders of Excite.com and was the chief technology officer of the company until its sale to @Home. Graham was also a co-founder of JotSpot, which was acquired by Google in 2006.

In 1999, Graham left Excite@Home to co-found DigitalConsumer.org, a 50,000-member non-profit consumer organization dedicated to protecting fair-use rights for digital media. Graham is also on the board of the Santa Fe Institute. Graham Spencer received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University.


Jeffrey Lewis
Middlebury Institute for International Studies

Dr. Jeffrey Lewis is the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at CNS. Before coming to CNS, he was the director of the Nuclear Strategy and Nonproliferation Initiative at the New America Foundation. Prior to that, he was executive director of the Managing the Atom Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, executive director of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a desk officer in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy.

At the Middlebury Institute, He teaches courses on arms control issues in Northeast Asia and Chinese nuclear policy. The work of his team was recently covered in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and VICE. He is the author of Minimum Means of Reprisal: China's Search for Security in the Nuclear Age (MIT Press, 2007), and Paper Tigers: China’s Nuclear Posture (IISS, 2014). He is a regular columnist for Foreign Policy, and has published articles in Foreign Affairs, the Washington Post, and The New York Times. He is the founder of ArmsControlWonk.com, the leading blog and podcast on disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation.


Pete Worden
Breakthrough Starshot

Dr. Worden was Director of NASA's Ames Research Center prior to joining the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. He was research professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona. He is a recognized expert on space and science issues and has been a leader in building partnerships between governments and the private sector internationally. Dr. Worden has authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific papers in astrophysics and space sciences. He served as a scientific co-investigator for three NASA space science missions – most recently the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph launched in 2013 to study the Sun. He received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for the 1994 Clementine Mission to the moon. Dr. Worden was named the 2009 Federal Laboratory Consortium ‘Laboratory Director of the Year’ and is the recipient of the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Innovator’s Award.


Elizabeth Bruch
University of Michigan & Santa Fe Institute

Elizabeth Bruch is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Complex Systems at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the faculty at Michigan in 2008, she was a postdoctoral scholar in the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy program. She earned a PhD in Sociology and MS in Statistics from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Bruch's longstanding interest is in the quantitative study of human behavior, and what it implies for larger scale social patterns and dynamics.

Her research combines substantive knowledge of human behavior from cognitive science, marketing, and decision theory with statistical techniques and richly textured online activity data in an effort to understand the dynamic interplay between human behavior and the social environment.

She has developed "cognitively plausible" statistical models of neighborhood and mate choice and is applying models from behavioral ecology to understand how men and women adapt their mate-seeking strategies to particular romantic markets.

​She is also exploring how online dating markets are divided vertically into "leagues" and horizontally into "submarkets", as well as how people organize their search for romantic partners in space and time.


William Tracy
Santa Fe Institute

William Tracy is the Vice President for Applied Complexity at the Santa Fe Institute. He came to SFI from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was the undergraduate program director for the Lally School of Management and a faculty member. He was formerly the Associate Director of SFI’s Complex Systems Summer School, Beijing. Before entering academia, he was a Junior Professional Associate at The World Bank, where he focused on Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Will also has private sector and entrepreneurial experience in the US, China, and India. He holds a Ph.D. in management with a certificate in human complex systems from UCLA.