Complexity Explorer Santa Fe Institute

Spring 2018 Complexity Challenge

Proposed by: The Santa Fe Institute and Partner

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General Description:

Welcome to our first open Complexity Challenge! Our pilot Challenge was by invitation only, but this time around anyone can apply to take part and tackle a real-world problem in complex systems. 

Our Complexity Challenges are designed to be as open as possible. As in any problem needing solving in the real world, our challenge questions can always be solved in many ways, and the most valuable solution may not come from the most obvious source. Participants with background in any field - from sociology to computer engineering - should be able to look at our upcoming challenge, see something they recognize, and come up with a brilliant solution. 

Unlike other online competitions, the Complexity Explorer Challenges aren’t designed to solicit the right answer, but many right answers. It’s then up to the challenge participants themselves to decide the best solution with our unique peer review system. 

Want to know what the challenge question is? 

Here’s a hint: You’ll be solving an updated and upgraded version of a classic SFI problem. 

The details of this Challenge will remain hidden until the start date.  Challenge participants are asked to enroll without knowing what those details are.  

This Challenge will be capped at 200 participants. Any individual who has applied for access to the Complexity Challenges and had their application approved is invited to enroll on a first come, first serve basis.  

About the Instructors

John Miller is Chair of the Science Steering Committee and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.  He is also a Professor of Economics and Social Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Social and Decision Sciences.  He received a B.A. in Economics and B.S. in Finance from the University of Colorado and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan.  He joined the Santa Fe Institute as their first post doctoral fellow in 1988. His research focuses on complex adaptive social systems. He was born and raised in Denver, Colorado---the fourth generation of a family of ranchers.

Bill Rand is an assistant professor of Business Management at the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University and a computer scientist by training. He recently co-authored a textbook on agent-based modeling with Uri Wilensky, the author of the NetLogo programming language. He is also the author of over 50 scholarly papers, many of which use agent-based modeling as their core methodology. He received his doctorate in computer science in 2005 from the University of Michigan, and was also awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to Northwestern University, where he worked directly with Uri Wilensky as part of the NetLogo development team.

Course Team:

Matt L. Miller is a doctoral candidate at the University of California at Davis. Matt studies coordination, cooperation, and the emergence of prosocial behavior. His research primarily involves agent-based models, but also encompasses analytical models of evolution, multilevel statistical models, and structural equation modeling. If you've got a question about algorithms or code speed optimization in Java, Matt's a good guy to ask. He is also a good resource for data analysis in R. Matt is a NSF graduate fellow who escaped the IT world to study psychology, but once again frequently finds himself stuck in windowless rooms with stacks of humming computers.

Ellen D. Badgley is a software engineer with the MITRE Corporation, specializing in computational social science and geospatial applications. She's worked on quite a few interesting projects involving such diverse subjects as geospatial data modeling, spatial optimization of large public facilities, and agent-based modeling to assess military equipping/readiness. She's particularly interested in the emergence of complex societies, the possibilities of agent-based modeling to understand historical patterns, and “big history” in general. She received her BA in Anthropology from Wake Forest University (including an archaeological field school at Jamestown, VA, the earliest permanent English settlement in North America) and her MS in Geographic and Cartographic Sciences from George Mason University (with quite a few electives in their Computational Social Science department). In her off hours, she participates in a historical reenactment group, and enjoys reading, role-playing and board games, and music (the earlier the better). She also loves to travel, especially in East Asia (her picture above was taken near Turfan in western China).

Stay tuned for information on more mentors!


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Challenge Opens:

23 Apr 2018 8am UTC

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