New York University Computer Science professor and Natural Computing co-author, Dennis Shasha discusses the intersection of biology, physics and computing in the use of genetic algorithms to engineer self-adaptive systems
Dennis Shasha is a professor of computer science at the Courant Institute of New York University where he works with biologists on pattern discovery for microarrays, combinatorial design, network inference, and protein docking; with physicists, musicians, and financial people on algorithms for time series; and on database applications in untrusted environments. Other areas of interest include database tuning as well as tree and graph matching. Because he likes to type, he has written six books of puzzles about a mathematical detective, a biography about great computer scientists, and technical books about database tuning, biological pattern recognition, time series, and statistics. He has co-authored over sixty journal papers, seventy conference papers, and fifteen patents. He has written the puzzle column for various publications including Scientific American. He is co-author of Natural Computing.
Natural Computing describes the lives and research of 15 scientists who work on the frontier between computing, biology, and physics. The book describes the variety of ways in which biological mechanisms such as evolution, feedback, and adaptation can and have influenced computational tasks ranging from robots in space to missile defense safety to trading on Wall Street. The book goes on to discuss how computational thought is being used to control biology in unprecedented and sometimes scary ways: the engineering of new polioviruses into smart vaccines, DNA nano-robots, and biobricks. Finally, the book discusses the current rethinking in computer architecture that derives from the use of massive parallelism on unreliable substrates and the imaginative use of materials to simulate natural phenomena.