Computational Insights and the Theory of Evolution

10 Oct
Computer Science Colloquium Series
Christos Papadimitriou
Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 4:00pm
Maxwell Dworkin G125

Covertly computational ideas have influenced the Theory of Evolution from the very start.  After a historical overview,  I shall discuss recent work on Evolution that was inspired and informed by computational insights. Considerations about the performance of genetic algorithms led to a novel theory of the role of sex in Evolution based on the concept of mixability, while the equations describing the evolution of a species can be reinterpreted as a repeated game between genes played through the multiplicative updates algorithm.  Finally, a theorem on Boolean functions helps us understand better Waddington's genetic assimilation as well as mechanisms for the emergence of novel traits.

Speaker Bio: 

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, Athens Polytechnic, Stanford, and UCSD.  He has written five textbooks and many articles on algorithms and complexity, and their applications to optimization, databases, AI, the Internet, economics, and evolution.  He has also published three novels.  He is a member of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S., the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering.  He holds a PhD from Princeton, and seven honorary doctorates.

Yaron Singer
Gioia Sweetland