Complexity Explorer Santa Fe Institute


Bring the Santa Fe Institute (SFI), and complexity science, to you, led by the SFI’s network of renowned faculty. 

We support your searching for Order in the Complexity of Evolving Worlds through:

From the novice to the experienced research professional SFI’s Complexity Explorer will provide you with the frameworks, tools, and applications you need to become a Complexity Scholar. 

Complexity Explorer serves the SFI's educational goals of maximum diffusion and use of complexity science.


Former Vice President of Education at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI), Ginger Richardson, and Portland State University Professor, Melanie Mitchell began thinking about creating an online course back in 2010.  SFI's summer schools were always oversubscribed, propelling them to create a MOOC platform and complexity themed MOOCs  that could help reach those students craving an understanding of complex systems who were not able to travel to the Santa Fe Institute.

In 2011 the Complexity Explorer project was officially launched by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to the Santa Fe Institute.  In 2012 the platform was developed and in early 2013 the first MOOC, Introduction to Complexity with Melanie Mitchell, was launched with over 7000 enrolled students. 


The Santa Fe Institute is a private, not-for-profit, independent research and education center, founded in 1984, where leading scientists endeavor to understand and unify the underlying, shared patterns in complex physical, biological, social, cultural, technological, and even possible astrobiological worlds

Researchers come to the Santa Fe Institute from universities, government agencies, research institutes, and private industry to collaborate across disciplines, merging ideas and principles of many fields -- from physics, mathematics, and biology to the social sciences and humanities -- in pursuit of creative insights that improve our world.

The Institute's scientific and educational missions are supported by philanthropic individuals and foundations, forward-thinking partner companies, and government science agencies.


Project Leaders:

Isa Ruiz (Program Coordinator, Online Education, Santa Fe Institute)

Carrie Cowan (Director of Education, Santa Fe Institute)

Course Instructors (to date):

Melanie Mitchell, Portland State University and Santa Fe Institute

David Feldman, College of the Atlantic

Liz Bradley, University of Colorado, Boulder and Santa Fe Institute

Bill Rand, North Carolina State University

John Miller, Carnegie Mellon University and Santa Fe Institute

Hector Zenil, Karolinska University 

Narsis Kiani, Karolinska University 

Tutorial Instructors (to date):

David Feldman, College of the Atlantic

Liz Bradley, University of Colorado, Boulder and Santa Fe Institute

Simon DeDeo, Carnegie Mellon University and Santa Fe Institute

Sid Redner, Santa Fe Institute

Anthony D. Rhodes, Portland State University

Seth Lloyd, Massachussets Institute of Technology

Justin Grana, Santa Fe Institute

Artemy Kolchinsky, Santa Fe Institute

Brendan Tracey, Santa Fe Institute

Bill Rand, North Carolina State University

Website Design and Development:

Bot & Rose Design, Portland, OR


Creation of Complexity Explorer was funded by the John Templeton Foundation until 2017. New content, web development, and hosting are funded by user contributions and the Santa Fe Institute.