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Convergent Paths Toward Universality in Complex Systems: Santa Fe Institute

David Krakauer

[email protected]

The workshop,"Convergent Paths towards Universality in Complex Systems", will bring together scientists from very diverse disciplinary backgrounds, including psychologists, physicists, ecologists, biologists, computer scientists, mathematicians, information theorists, and others to articulate a convergence approach to explore the recent discovery of universal or near-universal properties of complex systems. The two-day workshop, to be held in the Washington D.C. area will address universality in four primary areas: Information Processing and Collective Computation, Adaptive Dynamics, Scaling and Interactions and Energetics. The workshop will contribute new perspectives on universality and will be an important and necessary step in the identification of further research necessary for discovery in these converging fields. The results of this project will achieve broad impact through the workshop's contributions to increased insight into universality. Results of the workshop will be distributed broadly to a wide range of audiences through peer-reviewed reports, media announcements, and lectures at SFI's workshops and schools attended by academics, policymakers, and other stakeholders. The workshop will also be videotaped for dissemination via the SFI website and YouTube channel as well as for use in SFI sponsored training. Invited workshop participants will include a very diverse range of participants in order to achieve diversity across a number of dimensions, including faculty rank, gender, underrepresented groups and institutional diversity. This approach will facilitate the scientific and professional development of early career researchers as well as the inclusion of scientists from traditionally underrepresented groups. <br/><br/>The workshop will bring together research leaders across diverse disciplines for intensive discussions aimed at exploration of common mechanisms underlying a range of features of complex systems. The recent widespread adoption of information-theory, scaling theory, non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, and the theory of computation, in fields that go far beyond their disciplinary origins suggests a significant convergence that points toward universality. This meeting will focus on the most successful examples of unification and seek to explore their basis and generalization. The meeting will identify tools, models and theories that extend beyond the boundaries of single disciplines, and thereby provide significant improvements through novel approaches, to progress within any given field.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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