Santa Fe Institute Collaboration Platform

COMPLEX TIME: Adaptation, Aging, & Arrow of Time

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Contact: Caitlin Lorraine McShea, Program Manager,


From Complex Time

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Jessica Flack
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[[Biography::I am a professor at SFI where I also run the Collective Computation Group with David Krakauer. We work on fundamental problems in evolutionary theory concerning collective behavior, collective computation, and collective intelligence—at all levels of biological organization—from societies of cells to societies of individuals to machine-human hybrid societies. We use insights and tools from biology, evolutionary theory, evo-devo, statistical physics, cognitive science and neuroscience, complexity science, animal behavior, information theory, theoretical computer science, and dynamical systems. 

Our work is empirically grounded and often motivated by deep understanding of finite, heterogenous, and typically relatively small model systems in which components have only partly overlapping interests and are noisy information processors dealing with noisy signals. So far we have worked with neural data, data from animal societies, slime moulds, and data from human societies. 

My particular interests are in the role of collective computation/intelligence in the origin of space and time scales and in the emergence of robust structure and function in nature and society. And I am fascinated with the idea that components in adaptive systems construct their macroscopic worlds through collective coarse-graining in evolutionary and/or learning time.]]

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Involvement in the Complex Time Research Theme


This user is listed as an organizer for the following meetings:

  1. The Origin and Implication of Time in Adaptive Systems


This user is listed as an attendee for the following meetings:

  1. 2019 Advisory Board Meeting