J. Doyne Farmer

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J. Doyne Farmer
J. Doyne Farmer.jpg
Born 22 June 1952
Houston, Texas
Residence United States
Nationality United States
Fields Physics
Institutions Oxford University
Santa Fe Institute
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Alma mater Stanford University
University of California, Santa Cruz

J. Doyne Farmer (born 1952) is an American physicist and entrepreneur, with interests in chaos theory, complexity and econophysics. He is a former professor at the Santa Fe Institute and member of Eudaemonic Enterprises. He is currently a Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, where he co-directs the Oxford Martin Programme on Complexity, and is External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.


Although born in Houston, Texas, he spent most of his early life in Silver City, New Mexico, where he first developed an interest in physics. He spent his first year of college at the University of Idaho and his second year at Stanford University, California. Doyne went to graduate school at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied chaos theory and the physics of roulette. He received his PhD in Physics there in 1981.

Doyne Farmer then took up a post-doctoral appointmment at the centre for non-linear studies at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and in 1988 became leader of the Complex Systems Group, Theoretical Division.

In 1991 Farmer gave up his position at Los Alamos to start Prediction Company, with Norman Packard and Jim McGill. The purpose of this company was to create automated trading systems for a variety of commodity and securities markets, making predictions of trends using principles of physics, particularly Chaos Theory (e.g., exploiting Takens's state space reconstruction[1]) and what is called today statistical learning theory.

Following his work at the Prediction Company, Farmer returned to the Santa Fe Institute, where he headed its econophysics research group and was instrumental in developing the field. In 2012, Farmer left the Santa Fe Institute for Oxford University, where he now co-directs the Oxford Martin Programme on Complexity.


Eudaemonic Enterprises[edit]

The Eudaemons were a small group headed by graduate physics students Doyne Farmer and Norman Packard at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the late 1970s. The group's immediate objective was to find a way to beat roulette, but a loftier objective was to use the money made from roulette to fund a scientific community. The name of the group was inspired by eudaimonia, a philosophical ability which suffices for living well.

While a graduate student Doyne Farmer and other students from the University of California, Santa Cruz, spent several years researching a physics-based system that could predict outcomes of roulette games. During this time the group built a series of computers that were capable of calculating the motion of a moving ball, and trials in Las Vegas showed success. However, because of technical faults with computer equipment, the success was only partial and the technology was not feasible to use to make large profits. There is a book written about this project called The Eudaemonic Pie / Newton's Casino.

Prediction Company[edit]

The Prediction Company was founded in 1991 by Doyne Farmer, Norman Packard and Jim McGill to apply principles of physics and mathematics to the financial sector. From 1991 to 1999 Doyne held the position of Chief Scientist and from 1995 to 1999 the position of co-president.

Other interests[edit]

Farmer is a co-founder of the Atalaya Institute, a new and independent public policy institute in Santa Fe and is currently part of the steering committee.

In popular culture[edit]

Farmer and Packard's work toward predicting outcomes of roulette games, along with their actual attempt at a Las Vegas casino, has been featured in the 2004 Breaking Vegas series documentary, "Beat the Wheel".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Farmer J.D. & Sidorowich J.J. 1987. Phys. Rev. Lett. 59, 845[1]

External links[edit]