Complexity Explorer Santa Fe Institute

This course starts on 09 Apr 2018 4pm UTC

Introduction to Complexity

Lead instructor:

About the Course:

We have re-opened our popular introductory course indefinitely; all units will be open once the course is launched. You will be able to complete this course at any time of the year and receive a certificate. There will be a course instructor offering office hours and monitoring the forums to support your complexity learning journey. 

In this course you'll learn about the tools used by scientists to understand complex systems. The topics you'll learn about include dynamics, chaos, fractals, information theory, self-organization, agent-based modeling, and networks. You’ll also get a sense of how these topics fit together to help explain how complexity arises and evolves in nature, society, and technology. There are no prerequisites. You don't need a science or math background to take this introductory course; it simply requires an interest in the field and the willingness to participate in a hands-on approach to the subject.

About the Instructor(s):


Course instruction will be provided by an alumni of the Santa Fe Institute’s Complex Systems Summer School. That exact person is still to be determined, They will be available in weekly office hours and via email to answer questions, monitor forums, and support your learning.    



The course creator and video instructor, Melanie Mitchell is Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University,  and External Professor and Member of the Science Board at the Santa Fe Institute. She is the author or editor of five books and over 80 scholarly papers in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and complex systems. Her most recent book, Complexity: A Guided Tour, published in 2009 by Oxford University Press, won the 2010 Phi Beta Kappa Science Book Award. It was also named by as one of the ten best science books of 2009, and was longlisted for the Royal Society's 2010 book prize.                             

Class Introduction
How to use Complexity Explorer
Enrolled students:


View Participant Map

Course dates:

09 Apr 2018 4pm UTC to
09 Mar 2019 7am UTC



Like this course?

83 Student


  1. What is Complexity?
  2. Dynamics and Chaos
  3. Fractals
  4. Information, Order, and Randomness
  5. Genetic Algorithms
  6. Cellular Automata
  7. Models of Biological Self-Organization
  8. Models of Cooperation in Social Systems
  9. Networks
  10. Scaling in Biology and Society