Solve Complex Problems Together

Meet new collaborators and learn Complexity Science by doing

    • Complexity Science is an interdisciplinary and inclusive framework for studying, designing, and controlling Complex system behavior, such as global pandemics, extreme weather events, electoral politics, economic recovery and poverty, and much more. Over the course of one weekend, you will experience Complexity from a variety of perspectives, while developing solutions to real-world problems in a team setting, such as:

      • Information flow in a time of global connectivity
      • Adaptive planning for communities amidst turbulence and uncertainty
      • Addressing climate change and extreme weather events
      • Ensuring fair and accurate elections
      • Evaluating shelter-in-place policy efficacy during a pandemic
      • Building resiliency into businesses, governments, and families
      • Healthcare policy and efficacy
      • Mental health and wellness
      • Any other difficult and ongoing problems you can identify

  • Many of the teams formed from our previous Complexity Weekends (May 2019, May 2020) have resulted in productive collaboration and continued work to this day. 

    • Here’s what to expect:

      • A pre-Weekend experience where Facilitators will share recorded introductions and engage in Q&A by text and video with registered participants
      • A weekend-long interactive online experience (May 21st-23rd, 2021)
      • Complexity Science-inspired interactive sessions & team-forming.
      • A collective brainstorming and team-formation process during the weekend itself. 
      • Participation in a global community of practice that meets (online) every month to support each other in our various Applied Complexity endeavors.


In-line with social-distancing policy during the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, this weekend event will be entirely virtual

Date & Time

  • Friday, Oct 16 - Sunday, Oct 18

  • (Please plan to participate in the full virtual weekend experience)


Gain exposure to an interdisciplinary perspective on Complexity Science and its application


Work on important problems in small groups, with guidance from experienced mentors and domain experts


Join a cohort of colleagues, cofounders, and mentors - everyone is open to learning by doing with a diverse team

What is Complexity?

"There's no love in a carbon atom, no hurricane in a water molecule, no financial collapse in a dollar bill" - Peter Dodds

Aristotle described complex system behavior as when “the whole is more than the sum of the parts.” Complex systems consist of many components interacting with each other and their environment to produce networks of interaction, which generate novel information that makes it difficult to study components of these systems or subsystems in isolation or to completely predict their future. The main goal of Complex Systems Theory is to understand the relationship between these networks of interaction and the "emergent" properties of the system as a whole.

Our global community of practice is focused on creating immediate and lasting impact by applying Complex Systems Theory to the pressing problems of our time.

Learn More

Who Should Attend?

This Complexity community of practice is for you if you are:

A Team Player

Are you eager to join a team to come up with a unique insight into important problems in one or multiple domains? Are you curious about "learning by doing" in a relational, team, and community context?  


Can you commit to making your team a long-term success? Teams will be working over the weekend to accomplish a goal together, but the real impact is by working through deep time. 

Ready For Action

Are you prepared to serve others by applying yourself to solve complex problems with the potential for immediate and lasting impact?

All backgrounds welcome - your perspective is needed! 
(No direct experience in Complexity Science is required to participate)

Weekend Schedule (Oct 16-18)

Participants will be working in teams over the weekend to accomplish a goal and fulfill a purpose together. We need to make sure everyone who registers can make these time commitments over the weekend (to the extent that their timezone permits).

As a global community of practice, we welcome participation from all time zones and plan around the reality of a global virtual event Oct 16-18. We focus on forming teams across timezones by allowing for teams to form and evolve over the course of the entire weekend, and by promoting asynchronous teamwork (you'll have time to co-create with your team no matter what timezone you're in).

Friday, Oct 16

5:00 pm - 9:00 pm Pacific Time

Keynote and Community Events

Get to know the other participants and facilitators, learn about Complexity Science, and co-create Shared Truth with others.

Saturday, OCT 17

9:00 am - 4:00 pm Pacific Time

Learn Complexity Science By Doing In Teams

Form a team with other participants, choose a complex problem, and get to work.

The weekend experience is designed to be live and interactive (not just a series of talks)! 


9:00 am - 4:00 pm Pacific Time

Team Presentations and Next Steps

Share your team's hard work and vision, make an impact, and stay connected.

Flipped Classroom Schedule (Sept 21-Oct 15)

  • During this optional "lead up" experience, Facilitators will make pre-recorded content available to registered participants in the month leading up to the weekend . You'll be caught up whenever you decide to join.

    Use this time "before the Weekend" to connect with other participants and facilitators

    - Try to identify important complex problems together that require immediate action

    - Share and upvote solution ideas you are open to working on during the weekend itself

    This "Flipped Classroom" schedule allows us to focus the weekend experience on live interactive sessions together, with plenty of time for teams to form and work together. Please devote as much time to this pre-weekend experience as you can. Ultimately, the value of your interaction for you and the community, will be about the attention and work you put into it.

Keynote Speaker

Tom Carter, PhD

Professor OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AT stanislaus state University

Dr. Tom Carter has been a professor at CSU Stanislaus since 1981, starting in the Mathematics Department. In 1982, he helped found the Computer Science Department. Over the years, he has played a central role in the creation and development of the Cognitive Studies program at Stanislaus State, and has been involved with the University Honors program. His central areas of focus recently have been complex adaptive systems, large datasets, and bioinformatics.


Facilitators will guide and mentor teams during the conference, supplying Complexity Science references, impactful connections, problem-solving frameworks, tooling, relevant data sets, and more. Their mission is to guide the "how" of the Weekend, by enabling teams to embrace diverse perspectives between teammates, to interface with system stakeholders to gather feedback, to draw inspiration from the Complexity literature, and ultimately to accomplish initial goals together (whether that be a research proposal, a business plan, or another outcome). Many teams that form at a Complexity Weekend event go on to do great things together, and stay connected to our Applied Complexity community of practice through monthly virtual events.

Hector Zenil, PhD

Director at Oxford Immune Algorithmics; Laboratory leader at Karolinska Institute

Causation • Algorithmic Information Dynamics • Information Theory •  Complex Networks • Randomness

Dr. Hector Zenil has degrees in Logic (MPhil, Paris), Computer Science (PhD, Lille), and Epistemology (PhD, Paris). He specializes in complexity in causality and has published over 100 papers as a Senior researcher & faculty member at the University of Oxford; and as a lab leader of the Algorithmic Dynamics Lab at the Unit of Computational Medicine of the Karolinska Institute (awarding institution of the Nobel Prize in Medicine). He is the Editor of Complex Systems, the first journal in the field founded by Stephen Wolfram in 1987.

Michael Zargham, PhD

Founder and CEO at BlockScience; Visiting Researcher at WU Vienna (Cryptoeconomics Institute) 

Python • Systems Engineering • Political Economy • Blockchain • Data Science

Michael Zargham earned his PhD in Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 where he developed novel methods for decentralized dynamic resource allocation in networked systems. Zargham is the founder of engineering research and design firm BlockScience, which specializes in estimation, decision, and control of complex societal and economic systems. He is affiliated with the Vienna University of Economics and Business in the Interdisciplinary Institute for Cryptoeconomics.

Sudebi Thakurata

Faculty member at srishti institute of art, design & Technology; CO-FOUNDER AT DEPICENTRE CONSULTING

Complex Systems Thinking • Design • Learning • Leadership • Futurism

Sudebi is a narrative designer, creative facilitator, educator, futurist & writer. She designs experiences, engagement, and environment that allow people to think and dialogue. By making their thinking and interaction visible to others, she helps people discover their own designs and narratives using different modes and media. She is focused on social, environmental, and cultural issues, inter-weaving design thinking, imagination, complex systems thinking, pedagogy, crafts, visual and performing arts, oral history, ethnography, and research to co-create inclusive possibilities.

Palma Strand, JD


Sociology • Conflict Resolution • Democracy • Law and Justice

Strand is trained in the disciplines of civil engineering, law, and conflict engagement, with degrees from Stanford and Georgetown Universities. After more than 20 years on various law faculties, she moved to Creighton’s Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. She researches law’s emergence from civic relationships, systemic justice and injustice as emergent properties, and how current institutions operate to reproduce inequity. She practices building relationships and facilitating conversations to create civity (

Barb Siegel

board member and Catalyst at Plexus Institute (Awareful Systems)

Awareful Systems • Organization Development • Complexity Thinking

Barb is a registered architect, award- and grant-winning artist collected internationally, activist, and advocate. She co-litigated pro se (Latin: "for oneself") a precedent-setting zoning case where she learned about regulatory agencies and facilitating change in large, complex systems. For her gifted-with-learning-differences son, she taught herself enough neurology, psychology, and pedagogy in order to be an effective advocate. She now applies her knowledge into how thinking affects eco-systems.

Steve Phelan, PhD


Agent-based Models • Entrepreneurship • Economics • Limits of AI

Steven E. Phelan is Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at Fayetteville State University, part of the University of North Carolina system. He received his PhD entitled "Using Artificial Adaptive Agents to Explore Strategic Landscapes" in 1998. He has since published several articles on the application of complexity science to management and economics. His first book, "Startup Stories: Lessons for Everyday Entrepreneurs", was published in July 2020.

Krzysztof (Kris) Paruch


Research • Mathematics • Cryptoeconomics • Token Engineering • Complex Systems Engineering

Kris researches Cryptoeconomics and Complex Systems Engineering. With a formal education in technical-economic Mathematics at the University of Technology in Vienna and five years working experience in banking and software integration, he understands the financial and regulatory background at the intersection of real-world and cryptoeconomics. His focus at the Research Institute for Cryptoeconomics at WU Vienna is the development of token engineering research streams, the creation of network design and incentive mechanism structures, and valuation and modeling of crypto assets. His specializations are agent-based economic modeling, game theory and optimization methods, as well as monetary and environmental policy economics.

Anish Mohammed, PhD


Cryptography and Security • Governance • Blockchain • PMML

Anish has so far worked as a medical doctor, a bioinformatician, a strategy consultant, and a cryptographer. He has spent half of his career researching cryptographic algorithms and protocols at three different research groups, including Microsoft Research. He has advised and worked for various banks and financial institutions, including AIB, HSBC, Lloyds, and Zurich. He was also an early advisor to Ripple and Ocean Protocol, a reviewer of the Ethereum Orange paper, and one of the founding members of the UK Digital Currency Association. He is an adjutant faculty at Harbour Space and the head of research at the Information Sciences Institute at SRH Berlin.

Alexandra (Sasha) Mikhailova

PhD Candidate at UC Davis (Neuroscience Program)

Neuroscience • Microscopy • Communication • Education • Collaborative Drawing 

Alexandra has a background in translational neuroscience studying brain injury in early development. She is now pursuing a PhD examining how immune molecules regulate the proper establishment of connections in the brain. Her research is inherently interdisciplinary, and she hopes to bridge even more fields through Free Energy thinking and collaborative drawing.

Pietro Michelucci, PhD


Human Computation • Collective Intelligence • Crowd AI • Technosocial Platforms • Wicked Problems

Pietro Michelucci is the founding director of the Human Computation Institute, a multidisciplinary innovation center that develops scalable, crowd-powered systems to address “wicked” societal problems. More recently, he is investigating complexity science as a way to make problem-solving systems behave more predictably and effectively in the real world, and applying that to a project called "CrowdMeter" (toward a sustainable "new normal" during COVID-19). For more info, visit:

Prahlad Menon, PhD

CEO and chief data scientist at QUANTMD

R • Machine Learning • Big Data for Healthcare • Biomedical Signal Analysis • Computational Fluid Dynamics

Dr. Menon's research is focused on artificial intelligence and data science as applied to modeling imaging and time-series data in various domains. He ran the MeDCaVE Lab, which focused on robust algorithmic analysis of biomedical imaging data augmented with quantitative, physics‐based modeling of cardiovascular mechanics & hemodynamics. He has advised 10+ graduate students so far, resulting in over 100 peer-reviewed publications, and has served as faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Alex Maher

Co-Creator at love is unlimited

Yoga • Vision • Mission • Relationship Management • Care

Alex envisions a society built on a strong foundation of community spirit and commitment. This begins with people – mind, body, and heart. Her contribution to this vision is sharing what she knows, loves, and practices – Yoga.

Richard James MacCowan


Biomimicry • Design • Economics • Behavior • Ecology

Richard is an award-winning designer with a background in behavioral economics and real estate, with further study in urbanism. He has worked with multi-national organizations around the world on complex challenges, in real estate finance, urbanism, asset management, and product design. Richard rarely gets bored and finds common links between a host of subjects from art, science, nature, and design. Based in York in the UK, Richard spends his quiet time with his wife and two young boys.

V. Bleu Knight, PhD


Python • Agent-Based Modeling • Neuroscience • Bioinformatics • Optimization • Data Analytics

Bleu is interested in solving complex problems using data sources that are large and diverse. Her PhD research leveraged informatics to understand the biological identity of neural cell subtypes. More recently, she has been using augmented intelligence and agent based modeling to solve problems at industry scale. She has also been exploring how the exploitation of environmental resources establish networks fo information transmission.

Monica Kang

Founder & CEO at InnovatorsBox

Entrepreneurship • Creativity & Innovation • Facilitation • Diversity • Education

Monica Kang, Founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox®, is an educator at heart, transforming workplaces and communities with the power of creativity. Using innovative services and products, she works with industries worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica is the author of 'ReThink Creativity', has organized for Startup Weekend over the past 5 years, and previously worked in nuclear nonproliferation. 

Jenn Huff, PhD

Independent scholar; Curatorial associate at burke museum of natural history and culture

Anthropology • Technology • Human Evolution • Archaeology • Human-Environment Interaction

Jenn Huff is a quantitative anthropologist and archaeologist who works on deep time questions about human evolution, human migrations into new landscapes, exchange networks, risk & uncertainty, technology change, and human-environment interactions. She is currently working on a book that looks at human evolution and recent cultural perspectives to explore how humans cooperate; and what that means for us in the past, present, and the future. 

Stephen Guerin


Agent-Based Modeling • Visualization • Self-Organization Theory • Applied Complexity • Wildfires

Stephen Guerin is President of RedfishGroup in Santa Fe, New Mexico, an R&D consultancy applying the emerging science of Complex Adaptive Systems to create living software systems. He is the CEO and Inventor of the SimTable, a spatial augmented reality sand table for sharing GIS agent-based modeling for wildfires, flooding, and hazmat evacuations. Stephen is also Faculty at the Complex Systems Summer School at the Santa Fe Institute. His work centers on visualization and modeling of self-organizing systems.

Sean Griffin


Decision Science • Incident Management • Data Science • Disasters

Sean is the CEO of Disaster Tech, a public benefit company applying data science for decision-making before, during, and after disasters. Sean has served as Director for Incident Management Integration Policy on the White House National Security Council and is a U.S. Navy veteran.

Steven Ganz, PhD

Founder and CEO at Teamifier

Social Innovation • Programming Languages • Artificial Intelligence • Machine Learning

Steven has expertise across various domains and focused in programming languages. He applies this background to Earth Computing, supporting distributed computing with reliable networking, and to his own startup, Teamifier, supporting relationships through innovation and vice versa. As a consultant, Steven performed technical and strategic analyses for organizations from startups to research labs of global Fortune 500 companies. He distilled his knowledge of the vocabulary and culture of Silicon Valley as an author of the acclaimed book, Valley Speak.

Michael Garfield

social media strategist at Santa Fe Institute; host & producer at Future Fossils Podcast; community manager at The Long Now Foundation

Science Communication •  Evolutionary Biology • Paleontology  • Philosophy of Science

Michael is a philosopher and artist whose work anchors our current crises and imagined futures in deep time and a nondual articulation of evolutionary dynamics. Michael splits his time between art, music, writing, parenting, hosting Future Fossils Podcast, social media for the Santa Fe Institute, and community management for The Long Now Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @michaelgarfield

Denise Easton

Co-founder of complexity space consulting; board chair at plexus institute

Human Systems • Complexity Thinking • Ecosystems • Organization Development • Complexity Practice Models

Denise is an author, consultant and entrepreneur, who finds inspiration working in complex human ecosystems. She is co-founder and principal consultant with Complexity Space Consulting and chairs Plexus Institute. Her work and research focus on complexity thinking practices and models for organizational development, strategy, and innovation. Her book "Complexity Works! Influencing Pattern-Based Change in Teams & Organizations" introduces a scalable framework for applying Complexity language, distinctions, tools, and lenses.

Jacob Davidson, PhD

PostDOC AT Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (DEPT. OF COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOR)

Collective Behavior • Computer Simulation • Decision-making

Jacob is a theoretical biologist, with a background in physics and engineering.  He takes a quantitative approach to study the behavior of animal groups such as fish, birds, ants, and honeybees. He is interested in how groups process information, adapt to their environment, and coordinate to function together.

Scott David, JD, LL.M.


Business and Operations • Law • Technology • Sociology

Scott David has worked as an attorney for 30 years designing consistent, integrated, and enforceable narratives for harmonically-coupling incommensurables. He has advised global clients about creating rhetorical containers for intangibles of various sorts (financial instruments, derivatives, software, IP, data rights, information privacy, risk, etc), so that they can be transferred, traded and generally moved around.

Richard J. Cordés

DEPLOYMENT STRATEGIST at COGSEC; Partner at RemotOr Consulting Group; Nonresident Fellow at the Atlantic Council  

Open-source Intelligence • Organizational Sensemaking • Systems Warfare • Distributed Teams

R.J. spends his time infusing complexity science into military and intelligence research to generate best practice for remote teams, civilian or otherwise. He is a serial contributor within the Defense Community, working with complexity-oriented organizations on DARPA grants, research, and inter-agency collaborations. He currently represents Remotor and COGSEC in the information warfare subdivision of a working group on expeditionary warfare in addition to sitting on several other committees and working groups in the IEEE, Department of Defense, and Private Sector.

Alistair Brett, PhD

Chief Scientist at Infyrno LLC

Design Theory • Applications • Innovation Ecosystems 

Alistair Brett works on applying complex adaptive systems principles to practical problems. He has 25 years of global experience in technology commercialization. Alistair has a PhD in theoretical physics which helps him to think in terms of system models. He works closely with Denise Easton and Barb Siegel at the Plexus Institute. 

Probal Banerjee

Co-founder & CEO at Depicentre Consulting

Design-led Innovation • Transformative and Emergent Leadership • Executive Coaching • Futurism

Probal is the co-founder and CEO of the design-led collective, Depicentre Consulting. He works on the interfaces of business, learning, design, analytics, innovation, and storytelling. With leadership experience across seven countries strengthening his ability to manage cross-cultural & cross-functional virtual teams in complex organizations, he has a passion for aiding content- & culture-driven organizations in making economic, social, ecological, and educational impact.

Jaclyn (Jax) Asuncion, ACMA, CGMA


Accounting • Finance • Storytelling • Education • Collaboration • Wellbeing

Jax mothers a toddler, loves accounting and finance, and instigates fun projects. She is trained in political economy and business administration and has worked in the charity, commercial, and government sectors in Asia, the United States, and Europe. Her projects include climate innovation, unconventional learning, and bringing accounting and finance to The People. She now resides in London and emanates energy universe-wide.

Felipe Abrahão, PhD

Postdoc at the National Laboratory for Scientific Computing (LNCC), Brazil

Information theory • Theory of computation • Mathematical logic • Complex networks • Epistemology

Felipe is a postdoctoral researcher at the National Laboratory for Scientific Computing (LNCC), Brazil, under the supervision of Artur Ziviani. His current research project aims at theoretical analyses on emergent information, complexity, and randomness in networked complex systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will I get out of participating?

Join our global Applied Complexity community of practice, and come away with a healthy exposure to the depth and breadth of Complexity Science from a variety of perspectives. Meet new collaborators, co-authors, mentors, and friends while learning together through a hands-on online team experience. Work toward solutions to the most important problems of our time.

Who is this conference for?

This conference is intended for those who are interested in Complexity Science and are eager to have an immediate and lasting impact while so many Complex systems around us behave in ways that are volatile, harmful, or unsustainable.

What are the prerequisites for attending?

    • A healthy curiosity and willingness to work outside of your usual expertise and comfort, and a willingness to share your expertise with others. Conference engagements will occur exclusively in a Keybase team for the conference cohort, which will be shared with registrants (you can download Keybase and generate a username here: All sections will be held in English. 

Should I do anything to prepare for the conference?

Don't worry about being unprepared, as no one is an expert in all the various fields intersecting with Complexity Science. If you want to consume anything beforehand, perhaps the "Intro to Complexity" course materials from the Santa Fe Institute's Complexity Explorer platform would be best. We'll have facilitators on hand to help with whatever blocks your team as you work toward a solution to your chosen problem.

Should I come with a problem in mind that I'd like to work on already?

Feel free to come prepared with a complex problem you’d like to gather a team around to solve, or let the creativity flow as you interact with the diverse set of Complexity Thinkers during the event. The choice is up to you.

Who will own whatever is created at the conference?

Participants own their work. Solution proposals generated during the event will have explicit co-ownership defined by the teams themselves, and are private by default. Participants will be given the opportunity to opt-in to having their proposals summarized into a one-pager emailed to all attendees after the event and posted on the Complexity Weekend website. Teams are encouraged, but not required, to present their results at the end of the Weekend. Any degree of open-sourcing is celebrated, but not required.

How can I become a facilitator?

We are currently seeking facilitators for our next Complexity Weekend event (in May 2021). Please contact [email protected] if you are interested.

How does the Complexity Weekend community sustain itself financially?

Our community of practice is supported by a combination of individual and organizational contributions. If your organization would like to contribute money or other resources to aid in our mission to empower teams to tackle the world's toughest problems through Complexity Science, please contact us at [email protected]

Contact the Organizers at ComplexityWeekend @
Complexity Weekend Organizer team: 
Shaun Applegate-Swanson
Lead Data Scientist at CloudKnox Security
Co-Founder at
@drProton on Keybase
Daniel Ari Friedman, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher at UC Davis
Previously organized the Stanford Complexity Group
@docxology on Keybase

John Paul Gonzales
Complexity Educator & Community Organizer
@jpg505 on Keybase

In Association With:

Supported By:

Complexity Weekend

Applied Complexity community of practice