Biological Computation

Talk by Chris Binny

Friday from 3:30 PM - 4:00 PM in Stage C

This talk -- from the perspective of a biologist who goes drinking with programmers -- will look at some of the areas where biology and computer science overlap. We'll look at algorithms used by swarms and flocks to make group decisions, how well concepts from artificial life map onto actual life (with a brief segue into what "life" actually means anyway, and why it's a trickier question than you'd think), ongoing efforts to create programmable (Turing-complete) synthetic DNA structures and allografted cells for therapeutic use, and make an argument for regarding human DNA as the tape in our own personal Turing machine. Of course this is a lot of ground to cover in a single talk, so expect a fairly fast-moving overview of the concepts and key ideas, with more details coming out in audience discussion at the end.

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