Computational Insights and the Theory of Evolution

Friday, October 17, 2014 - 11:00am
ESB 1001
Computational Insights and the Theory of Evolution
Christos H. Papadimitriou
Subhash Suri / Sponsored by Google


Covertly computational ideas have influenced the Theory of Evolution from the very start.   This talk is about recent work on Evolution that was inspired and informed by computation. 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.  The complexity of local optimality informs the mystery of variation, and a theorem on Boolean functions helps us understand better the emergence of complex adaptations.

Reception with refreshments at 10:30am. The talk begins at 11:00am.


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 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, as well as a recipient of the Knuth prize, the Goedel prize, and eight honorary doctorates.  He has also published three novels.

Everyone welcome!