Complexity Explorer Santa Fe Institute


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08 Mar 2022
Computation Mathematics Astrobiology Humanities Philosophy History Social Science

Meet Computation in Complex Systems TA John Malloy

Computation in Complex Systems with Course Instructor Cris Moore and Teaching Assistant John Malloy begins April 11

Enroll now and read on learn more about TA John Malloy!

Click here to register now!

John Malloy is a PhD candidate at Arizona State University in the School of Earth and Space Exploration where he studies astrobiology with SFI External Professor Sara Walker. He received his B.S. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from University of Maryland, Baltimore County, as well as a M.F.A in Teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland University. John's work seeks to answer questions about the origin and evolution of life on earth, but also searches for evolutionary patterns that could potentially apply on other planets. Learn more about John's work on his personal website and connect with him on Linkedin.

1. Tell us about your research interests and your current work. How does the study of computational complexity inform your work? 

I am fascinated by how systems change over time. My research studies how living chemical systems are different from nonliving systems and how the complexity of chemical compounds increases over time. The computational theory I use includes: graph theory applied to chemical compounds; algorithms, especially for machine learning; and efficiency analysis applied to big data computation across chemical databases.

2. We know you are passionate about teaching, both for Complexity Explorer and elsewhere. What inspires your enthusiasm for education? Can you tell us more about your other teaching pursuits outside of Complexity Explorer?

I believe all students should have the opportunity to be interested and engaged in science, regardless of race, gender, class, upbringing, or any other form of historic discrimination. Science only becomes better when different viewpoints and experiences add to and challenge existing knowledge. To that end, I teach both adult and juvenile learners in the Arizona prison system, as well as lead outdoor science education efforts for high school and middle school students in the Tucson-area mountains.

3. What is your favorite part about being involved in the Complexity Explorer community?

I love interacting with incredibly smart people from around the world. In every class I’ve taken or taught on Complexity Explorer, I’ve always learned just as much from the other students as the class itself. The amount of interest and knowledge present in this community is astounding and is wonderful to be a part of.

4. When you are not working or teaching, what other activities do you enjoy?

I find it important to be connected to the land where I live, and I do that mainly through running and food. I enjoy training for and competing in ultramarathons throughout the American Southwest, and have recently began exploring and cooking traditional foods of the Arizona area.

5. Any words of advice for students for our upcoming run of Computation in Complex Systems?

Please engage with the other students and learners within the course! This class (and others on Complexity Explorer) are much more interesting when there is a strong community interested in the material.


SFI's Community Lecture Series returns:

"Recognizing the Alien in Us" with SFI External Faculty Sara Walker.

Lensic Performing Arts Center • 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm US Mountain Time • March 22, 2022

Life does not violate any of the known laws of physics. But it is not explained by them either. In this SFI Community Lecture, Sara Walker guides us through the quest to uncover a new theory of physics that might allow us to understand what life is, its general characteristics, its origin on Earth, and how to find it elsewhere in the universe.

Read more and reserve tickets on our website.

Not in Santa Fe? This event will be live-streamed and recorded on our YouTube channel.


Seeking Teaching Fellow

For the Foundations & Applications of Humanities Analytics (FAHA) Workshop in Summer 2022

Join us in Santa Fe this summer to train the next generation of digital humanities scholars. Assist participants in developing research, teach basic coding skills, and be an essential member of our course team. 

Dates: July 18 - 22, 2022

Application Deadline: March 31, 2022

For more information and to apply, check out the job posting. We appreciate you sharing this opportunity broadly!


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