Life comprises of complex systems. From enigmatic climate change to erratic stock market behavior, from human evolution to the working of the immune systems, there is a lot more complexities at work than what appears to the untrained eye at first.
To understand, better appreciate and further explore complexity and complex systems, Santa Fe Institute was established in 1984. It is a private, not for profit, independent research and education center.
During the later part of the 1980s, the institute hosted workshops to explore from a complex systems perspective such topics as theoretical immunity, biological complexity, evolutionary economics, artificial life, etc.. Later years witnessed growing economics program, new inquiries into political behaviors and human culture, exploration of new frontiers in genomics, neurobiology, viral dynamics, complex systems in ecology, etc..
Despite institutes’s increasing involvement with the softer sciences and the humanities, the scientists at work here are relying more on well established quantitative methods in Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
Today researchers from universities, government agencies, other research institutes and private industry come to SFI to collaborate across disciplines, merging ideas and fields —making true trans-disciplinary research quite a norm.
Complexity Explorer is a web based repository of educational materials pertaining to complex systems science. It is supported by the John Templeton Foundation as part of a grant to the Santa Fe Institute, and by user donations. It is under development by the intellectual resources at the SFI and Portland State University.
Complexity Explorer will be hosting SFI’s online courses as well as glossary, databases of syllabi, citations, along with a Virtual Laboratory which will illustrate system ideas, theories and tools through simulation programs. The best part of it is that all the content of the web site will be open to all.
In this regard one of the first course being launched through the Complexity Explorer is “Introduction to Complexity”. It is essentially a re-offering of the course offered earlier with some valuable additions.
This course is about the tools used by the contemporary scientists to understand complex systems. It includes topics such as dynamics, chaos, fractals, information theory, self organization and agent based modeling and networks.
The course instructor is Melanie Mitchell, Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University and External Professor and Member of the Science Board at the SFI. She has authored over 70 scholarly papers and authored/edited five books. The course has begun from September 29, 2013 and will conclude on December 13, 2013.
A great opportunity for every one to learn about complexity!
Related Link: Complexity Explorer (www.complexityexplorer.org/online-courses/3)