Complexity Explorer Santa Few Institute

Introduction to Complexity course to be re-offered

30 Aug 2014

This fall we are pleased to be reoffering Melanie Mitchell’s popular “Introduction to Complexity” course.  This course will provide you with a well-rounded understanding of the different tools employed by scientists in their work with complex systems.  Covered topics will include dynamics, chaos, fractals, information theory, self-organization, agent-based modeling, and networks.  The course provides both an integrated understanding of the interrelationships between these topics as well as treatment of their real world applications in nature, society and technology.

Beginning on September 29th, the class will include 11 units in total and will run until December 14th.  There are no prerequisites for this course and students of all levels are welcomed and encouraged to participate.  Previous sections of the course have included participants across the full spectrum of math and science knowledge from brand new beginners to doctoral-level academics and science professionals.  The course is structured in such a way that anyone along that continuum with an interest in the field will be able to gain new insights about complexity science.  

The NetLogo simulation platform will be used in the lectures to demonstrate the main ideas presented.  Using NetLogo is optional for course participants, but the course will provide interested students the opportunity to experiment with simulations and even create their own simulations. 

Here are a few comments from course participants in the previous offering of this course: 

  • “Melanie is a great communicator and a wonderful lecturer.  She makes difficult concepts seem so simple.”
  • “The introductory course was very interesting - so interesting that I want to work on complexity in my own research now. Thanks for that!”
  • “I've taken quite a few MOOCs on many different platforms, and can honestly say that this has by far been the best in terms of content and the way the content was presented.”
  • I will be taking all of the courses offered. I think this course is great press for the Santa Fe Institute as I have told everybody who will listen about it. Thank you for such an interesting and well-done course. I am fortunate to have taken it.”
  • “Even though I have followed the work at SFI for many years, have loosely studied chaos, fractals, etc. to some extent, and have read Melanie's book, this course has made that knowledge come to life much more than just reading about it. Thank you to SFI, the Templeton Foundation, Melanie, and everyone else involved for the enjoyable experience.”
  • “The material was presented in such a way that anyone could benefit, no matter what his background.  The multilevel homework approach was a perfect way to support the interests of anyone taking the course.  I have taken several MOOCs now, and this was definitely the best.  The course materials seemed to be chosen very carefully, and were excellent.  The interviews added wonderful context to the topics.  GREAT COURSE, THANK YOU!”

For more information on this course, see



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