Why ‘Natural Algorithms are the Language of the Living World’ – Bernard Chazelle

At Technion’s Computer Science Faculty – April 23, 2013 – Prof. Bernard Chazelle (Princeton University)
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.)

Bernard Chazelle is Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science
at Princeton University, where he has been on the faculty
since 1986. He is currently a professor at College de France in Paris
and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
He has held research and faculty positions
at Carnegie-Mellon University, Brown University,
Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole Normale Superieure, University
of Paris, INRIA, Xerox Parc, DEC SRC, and NEC Research, where
he was a Fellow for many years. He received his Ph.D in computer science from Yale
University in 1980. The author of the book “The Discrepancy Method,”
he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Posted in Ideas and Papers.

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