Analysis, Visualization & Discovery
Wednesday April 29, 3:30pm — PAA 102

Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies

César Hidalgo
Director, Macro Connections Group, MIT Media Lab


The universe is made of energy, matter and information; but information is what makes the universe interesting. Without information, the universe would lack the shapes, structures, and order that gives the universe both its beauty and complexity. But where does information comes from and what are the natural, social, and economic mechanisms that help information grow? In this talk I will describe the growth of physical order—or information—from atoms to economies by explaining the physical mechanisms that allow order to exist, and the social and economic mechanisms that allow order to prevail in our society and economy.


César A. Hidalgo heads the Macro Connections group at The MIT Media Lab and is also the ABC Career Development Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT. Hidalgo's work focuses on understanding the evolution of information in natural, social, and economic systems, and on the development of big data visualization engines designed to make available unwieldy volumes of data. Hidalgo's academic publications have been cited more than 5,000 times and his visualization engines have received more than 5 million visits. He is the author of Why Information Grows (Penguin UK, Basic Books US, Forthcoming June 2, 2015) and the co-author of The Atlas of Economic Complexity (MIT Press).