George Sugihara


George Sugihara
McQuown Chair, Distinguished Professor of Natural Science
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0202


Non-Academic Appointments (academic leave 1996-2001)

1998 – 2000 Managing Director, Deutsche Bank
1996 – 2000 Director, Deutsche Bank Global Markets, Head of Global Quantitative Proprietary Trading


Research Expertise

Developing empirical dynamic modeling (EDM) and other data-enabled approaches for extracting information from observational data on complex systems.  Specific research areas include algebraic topology, network theory, nonlinear dynamics, forecasting chaotic systems, early warning signs of critical transitions, detecting causality in complex ecosystems. Fields include algal physiology, theoretical ecology, landscape ecology, medicine, genomics, finance, atmospheric and earth science, paleoecology and fisheries.


Selected Work Products

Directly Related Works:

  • Sugihara, G. and R.M. May, 1990.  Nonlinear forecasting as a way of distinguishing
    chaos from measurement error in time series.  Nature 344:734-741   (highly cited)
  • Sugihara, G., R.M. May, H. Ye, E. Deyle, M. Fogarty and S. Munch, 2012. Detecting causality in complex ecosystems. Science 338:496-500. Watch video summary.
  • Sugihara, G. 1994. Nonlinear forecasting for the classification of natural time series. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 348: 477-495.
  • Deyle E., R. M. May, S. B. Munch and G. Sugihara. 2016. Tracking and forecasting ecosystem
    interactions in real time. Proc. R. Soc. B. 283: 20152258. View PDF.
  • Ye, Hao, Richard J. Beamish, Sarah M. Glaser, Sue C. H. Grant, Chih-hao Hsieh, Laura J. Richards, Jon T. Schnute, and George Sugihara. 2015. Equation-free mechanistic ecosystem forecasting using empirical dynamic modeling. PNAS v.112 no.1. 3253-3256,doi:10.1073/pnas.1420291112.

Other Works:

  • Scheffer M., J. Bascompte, W.A. Brock, V. Brovkin, S.R. Carpenter, V. Dakos, H. Held, E.H. van Ness, M. Rietkerk and G. Sugihara. Early-warning signals for critical transitions. Nature 461:53-59.
  • Hsieh C.H., S.M. Glaser, A.J. Lucas and G. Sugihara. 2005. Distinguishing random environmental fluctuations from ecological catastrophes for the North Pacific Ocean. Nature 435:336-340.
  • Dixon, P.A., M. Milicich and G. Sugihara, 1999. Episodic fluctuations in larval supply. Science 283: 1528-1530.
  • Perretti, C T, S B Munch, and G. Sugihara. 2013. Model-free forecasting outperforms the correct
  • mechanistic model for simulated and experimental data. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110 (13): 5253–5257.
  • Hastings, H. and G. Sugihara, 1994.  Fractals: A User’s Guide for the Natural Sciences.
  • Oxford University Press.  238 p.   (5 reprintings & German translation)


Professional Profile & Synergistic Activities

National Academies Service:  Two-term Member of the National Academies Board on Mathematical Sciences and it Applications (2007-2012); Member of NAS Committee to Evaluate US Fisheries Rebuilding (2013-2014); Member of NRC Committee to Evaluate the Effects of Sudden Climate Change (2014-2015).

Other Honor: In 2009, interviewed and subsequently solicited for the position of Chief Scientist of NOAA at the level of Assistant Secretary Department of Commerce.

Finance: Managing Director for Deutsche Bank 1998-2001, and head of global proprietary trading 1996-2001. Applied proprietary nonlinear forecasting methods to manage $2B daily risk of bank assets. In 2008, provided advice to the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and to The United States Federal Reserve System on questions of systemic risk. Appeared on high profile panels (Global ARCS) regarding this topic along with Henry Kissinger, Paul Volker, Joseph Steiglitz and Andrew Haldane. Currently on the Editorial Board of Quantitative Finance and helped found Prediction Company (sold to UBS) and Quantitative Advisors LLC (an advisory company created by Deutsche Bank which leased Sugihara’s trading system until 2006).

Fisheries Management: Solicited to develop a market-based incentive plan to manage Chinook salmon bycatch by the Bering Sea walleye pollock fishery (largest U.S. fishery). The plan was adopted as the “Inshore Chinook Salmon Savings Incentive Plan Agreement” (2008-2010). Currently collaborating with former Heads of Canada’s Fisheries and Oceans (Laura Richards, Richard Bemish) and DFO staff to implement nonlinear forecasting (EDM) in setting targets for Fraser River sockeye salmon (2012-present).

Genomics:  Current collaborations with Inder Verma and Geoffry Wahl at the Salk Institute to apply EDM and CCM to problems in gene expression in cancer.

Synergistic Activities in Media Profiles: