Guest Lecturers

  • Stuart Kauffman, originally a medical doctor, is an emeritus professor of biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania and a seminal member and an external professor of the Santa Fe Institute. Also a MacArthur Fellow and a Trotter Prize winner, Kauffman has published three major books; among them is At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity (1995). Kauffman was the director of the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics (IBI). He is the pioneer and the founding father of biocomplexity research. Kauffman himself got interested in gene regulatory networks at San Francisco medical school in 1964 when he wanted to unravel the mysteries of cell differentiation. Quickly noticing the possibilities of his revolutionary ideas, he started working on biocomplexity and was eventually able to show that the behavior of genetic networks depends critica lly on the level at which the genes are connected.

  • Cesar Hidalgo is an assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab, where he leads the Macro Connections group, and is a faculty associate at Harvard University's Center for International Development. Hidalgo's work focuses on improving the understanding of systems by using and developing concepts of complexity, evolution, and network science; his goal is to help improve understanding of the evolution of prosperity in order to help develop industrial policies that can help countries raise the living standards of their citizens. His areas of application include economic development, systems biology, and social systems. A native of Santiago de Chile, Hidalgo holds a PhD in physics from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor's degree in physics from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. With Ricardo Hausmann et al., he is co-author of The Atlas of Economic Complexity (2011). His most recent book is Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies (Basic Books, 2015).

  • Blake LeBaron is Professor of Finance in the Graduate School of International Economics and Finance at Brandeis University. Professor LeBaron is generally interested in learning and evolution in international and national financial markets, and the nonlinear behaviour of financial and macroeconomical time series. He has investigated the application of chaos theory to economic time series. He is currently working on understanding how systems of adaptive agents can replicate observed real world phenomenon, particularly the behavioural characteristics of traders in financial markets. He is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an External Faculty of the Santa Fe Institute.

  • Alex "Sandy" Pentland has helped create and direct MIT's Media Lab, the Media Lab Asia, and the Center for Future Health. He chairs the World Economic Forum's Data Driven Development council, is Academic Director of the Data-Pop Alliance, and is a member of the Advisory Boards for Google, Nissan, Telefonica, the United Nations Secretary General, Monument Capital, and the Minerva Schools. In 2012 Forbes named Sandy one of the "seven most powerful data scientists in the world," along with Google founders and the CTO of the United States, and in 2013 he won the McKinsey Award from Harvard Business Review. He is among the most-cited computational scientists in the world and a pioneer in computational social science, organizational engineering, wearable computing (Google Glass), image understanding, and modern biometrics. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, and Harvard Business Revi ew, as well as being the focus of TV features on BBC World, Discover, and Science channels. His most recent book is Social Physics (Penguin Press, 2015).

  • Irving Esptein is the Henry F. Fischbach Professor of Chemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor at Brandeis University, where he previously served as Dean of Arts and Sciences and as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. Epstein's research is on dynamics of nonlinear chemical systems, particularly oscillatory chemical reactions, spatial pattern formation, dynamical systems, and applications to neurobiology. Epstein experimentally and theoretically investigates Turing structures and chemical wave patterns, which are thought to be mechanisms of spatial pattern formation in fields ranging from biology to geology. Epstein's research team was the first to design a new chemical oscillator. They are especially interested in studying the phenomena that occur when multiple oscillators are put together, such as when the coupling of two systems separately at a steady stat e causes them to start oscillating, or when two oscillatory systems couple so as to stop oscillating ("oscillator death").

  • Nassim Nicholas Taleb, of the Real World Risk Institute, is a (former) option trader, now self-owned scholar who engages in a multidisciplinary no-nonsense approach to probability. Although he is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University, he self-funds his research and operates in the manner of independent scholars. He is known for his BS-busting, his intolerance for fake research and his multivolume Incerto (The Black Swan, Antifragile, and Fooled by Randomness). He has completed 600,000 option trades and now specializes in the mitigation of tail risk.

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