Complexity Explorer Santa Fe Institute

03 Jul 2018
Complex Systems Master's Program Course Update

ASU-SFI Master's Update Summer 2018

Excited for the online masters in complexity science? We thought we'd update you on our progress! 

We are diving deep into filming, aiming for 6 courses filmed by the end of the year.  At this point we have determined a tentative course list, with more to come, and are pushing for a likely Spring 2019 release for at least 3 of the courses. 

As we are still in the development phase, exact start dates for the program, as well as, admissions specifics and costs are still being determined. For more information check out our FAQ page or ASU’s online graduate degrees page

Courses actively in development right now are: 

Evolution of Complex Systems

This course will be led by SFI President David Krakauer and ASU’s very own Manfred Laubichler, Director of the Global Biosocial Complexity Initiative and President's Professor. This course will present the core concepts of evolution from a complex systems perspective, in contrast to more traditional biological models of evolutionary theory. Beginning with the physical properties of the universe, the course expands to cover adaptive processes and what makes them special, examples of evolution in various biological systems, and finally addresses evolutionary phenomena beyond biology. 

Origins of Life

This course is being led by SFI's newest Faculty member, Chris Kempes and Sarah Maurer, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Central Connecticut State University.  Their course will feature a number of guest lecturers working in the Research Coordination Network (RCN) for Exploration of Life's Origins.  Sample lecture titles include:
"What did early earth look like: Chemistry and energy sources of early earth"
"RNA world"
"Macroscopic Theories of Biology"
"Artificial Life Theory"
"Modern DNA as an Informational Polymer"

Complexity and the Evolution of Societies

This course is co-developed by SFI Director of Education, Dr. Paul Hooper and Dr. Stefani Crabtree, post-doctoral scholar in the Human Environmental Dynamics laboratory at Pennsylvania State University. Here is an excerpt from the course description:

 "We take a deep-time perspective to understand the evolutionary origins of our species, and the paths that have led to the broad diversity of social systems observed across human history. We explore the central roles of cognition, learning, lifespan, and social bonds in defining the specialized niches occupied by Homo sapiens. We discuss the forces that give rise to human culture and cultural evolution, and consider how past and present societies are shaped by interactive effects of ecology, energetics, history, and scale."

Courses we will be developing and filming in the coming months include: 

  • Dynamical Systems
  • Computation
  • Networks
  • Cities
  • Innovation
  • Collective Intelligence
  • Digital Humanities

Students receiving a Master's degree in Complexity Science will have a strong foundation in the fundamental concepts and methods of complexity science developed at the Santa Fe Institute and elsewhere. This includes exposure to and experience with tools such as dynamical systems modeling, computational simulations, and data analysis.The degree will also give students opportunities to develop abilities in interdisciplinary communication, synthesis, and collaboration.

Keep an eye out for more updates as we move closer to launch! 

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