Complexity Explorer Santa Fe Institute

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29 Jun 2020
Computation Computer Science Complex Systems Medicine Epidemiology

Registration for Computation in Complex Systems is now open, and other ways to get involved with SFI!

Computation in Complex Systems 

Course begins on July 15th 

Pre-Register Today > 

About the Course

This course explores computational theory, ranging from search algorithms and solution landscapes to BigO and reducibility. Emphasis is placed on measures of computational complexity, including P versus NP and -completeness.  Computational complexity is one of the most beautiful fields of modern mathematics, and it is increasingly relevant to other sciences ranging from physics to biology. The aim of this course is to help participants gain an understanding of the deep ideas of theoretical computer science in a clear and enjoyable fashion, making those ideas accessible to non-computer scientists and to computer scientists who want to understand what their formalisms are telling them.

Units include:

1. Easy and Hard

2. Algorithms and Landscapes

3. P versus NP

4. Worst-case, Natural, and Random

5. Computation Everywhere

Units will be released approximately once per week, with an exam at the end of each unit and due by the end of the subsequent week (eg. unit 1 released at start of week 1; unit 1 exam due at the end of week 2). Each unit will require an average of 5 hours to complete (including all content and assessments). All coursework is conducted in English.

The course consists of lectures, interactive exercises, quizzes for self-assessment, and unit exams. The interactive exercises allow participants to see various problems from the lectures in practice and the effects of various perturbations. The quizzes are intended to help participants assess their understanding of the material and to prepare for the unit exams. Only the unit exam scores count toward completion of the course, which requires that a participant achieve ≥ 70% score on all unit exams. The unit exams consist of quiz questions, and are peer-graded according to a grading rubric provided by the instructor. Completion of grading assignments is also required to receive a certificate of completion for the course.

Pre-Register Today > 

Wondering what else is happening at SFI?

You can tune in to weekly Wednesday seminars, available on our YouTube Channel and Facebook Page.

This Week:

Effect of Universal TB Vaccination and Other Policy-Relevant Factors on the Probability of Patient Death from COVID-19

Amos Golan, American University; SFI

Wednesday, July 1, 2020 @ 12:15 p.m. (US Mountain Time)

Abstract: The possibility of reoccurring waves of the novel coronavirus that triggered the 2020 pandemic makes it critical to identify underlying policy-relevant factors that could be leveraged to decrease future COVID-19 death rates. We examined variation in a number of underlying, policy-relevant, country-level factors and COVID-19 death rates across countries. We found three such factors that significantly impact the survival probability of patients infected with COVID-19. In order of impact, these are universal TB (BCG) vaccination, air pollution deaths and a health-related expenditure. We quantify each probability change by age and sex. To deal with small sample size and high correlations, we use an information-theoretic inferential method that also allows us to introduce priors constructed from independent SARS data.

Key Words: BCG vaccine, coronavirus, COVID-19, health expenditure, inference, information theory, policy pollution level

SFI Host:  Mirta Galesic

The Santa Fe Institute is a nonprofit research center located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its scientists collaborate across disciplines to understand the complex systems that underlie critical questions for science and humanity. The Institute is supported by philanthropic individuals and foundations, forward-thinking partner companies, and government science agencies.

Support Complexity Explorer

Did you know that donors who support SFI on a monthly basis get an exclusive invitation to join SFI Science Club events? This includes recurring monthly donations to Complexity Explorer, and there is no minimum donation!

Give a Recurring Monthly Donation > 

About the next Science Club event:

July 14, 2020 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm  US Mountain Time

Speaker: David Kinney

Abstract: Critical race theorists and standpoint epistemologists argue that agents who are members of dominant social groups are often ignorant as to the extent of their social dominance, and that they are so ignorant precisely because they are a member of a socially dominant group. Perhaps the most famous recent academic work defending this thesis is Charles Mills' modern classic "White Ignorance" (2007). To illustrate this claim bluntly, it is argued: 1) that many white men do not know the extent of their social dominance, 2) that they remain ignorant as to the extent of their dominant social position even where this information is freely attainable, and 3) that this ignorance is due in part to the fact that they are white men. Mills describes ignorance by elite agents of their privileged status as "motivated irrationality." Indeed, on classic economic accounts of rationality, any willful ignorance of costless information can only be regarded as irrational. However, we argue that on more nuanced accounts of rationality, such as the risk-weighted rationality framework proposed by Laura Buchak, ignorance of one's privileges can be rational. This argument yields a new account of elite-group ignorance, why it may occur, and how it can be overcome. (This work in progress is co-authored with Liam Kofi Bright, Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the London School of Economics.)

David Kinney is a Complexity Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute.

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