Seminar details

2 July 2015 - 14h00
Life under the Lens
by Christos H. Papadimitriou from UC Berkeley

Abstract: Applying the algorithmic point of view to the natural, life, and social sciences often results in unexpected insights and progress in central problems, a mode of research that has been described as ``the lens of computation.'' I will focus on examples in the life sciences, from joint work with Erick Chastain, Costis Daskalakis, Adi Livnat, Umesh Vazirani, Santosh Vempala, and Albert Wu: Evolution of a population through sexual reproduction can be rethought of as a repeated game between genes played through the multiplicative weight updates algorithm. In an infinite population, when selection acts not on genes alone but on pairs of genes, fixation can take exponentially many generations. And unsupervised learning of patterns can be achieved spontaneously through a neurally plausible primitive.

Christos H. Papadimitriou is the C. Lester Hogan Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley. Before joining Berkeley in 1996, he taught at Harvard, MIT, NTU Athens, Stanford, and UCSD. He has written five textbooks and many articles on algorithms and complexity, and their applications to optimization, databases, control, AI, robotics, economics, game theory, the Internet, evolution, and brain science. He holds a PhD from Princeton, and eight honorary doctorates. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the US, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering. He has also written three novels: “Turing ,” “Logicomix” (with Apostolos Doxiadis) and “Independence” (in Greek).

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