Sunday, July 25, 2010

Carl Bergstrom - The Mathematics of Microbes

MTS54 - Carl Bergstrom - The Mathematics of Microbes: In this podcast I talk to Carl Bergstrom of the University of Washington about the mathematics of microbes. Bergstrom is a mathematical biologist who probes the abstract nature of life itself. We talk about how life uses information, and how information can evolve. But in Bergstrom's hands, these abstractions shed light on very real concerns in medicine, from the way that viruses jam our immune system's communication systems to to the best ways to fight antibiotic resistance.

Another interesting podcast, this time on uses of information theory and game theory to understand evolutionary and adaptive processes in living systems. It included a good informal discussion of how to think information-theoretically about genomes and evolution, although it could have been sharper if they had been more explicit about the tradeoff between information about the environment and compression/distortion. Two papers that seem worth reading: The transmission sense of information, which could have some nice connections to the information bottleneck, and Dealing with deception in biology, which I think would be a lot of fun for my security colleagues.

No comments: