The Israel Pollak Distinguished Lecture: Talk II - Why Natural Algorithms are the Language of the Living World

Speaker:
Prof. Bernard Chazelle (Princeton University)
Date:
Tuesday, 23.4.2013, 14:30
Place:
Room 337-8 Taub Bld.

The glory of 20th century physics was in many ways the triumph of mathematics. Lacking the requisite symmetries, the life sciences of today are unlikely to witness a repeat of this miraculous match. Unlike electromagnetism, for example, cancer will not be explained by a few differential equations. The high descriptive complexity of biology seems to call for a new language --- not a language of equations but of algorithms. The challenge is to find it and then decipher it within the world of biology.

Just as equations are studied via other equations, so natural algorithms must be approached through the lens of other algorithms, which in turn points to the need for an "algorithmic calculus." I'll sketch what such a program might entail in the context of "influence systems," which form a broad family of multiagent dynamics encountered in the living world. (This lecture will be entirely self-contained.)

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