An interdisciplinary team re-examined Kleiber's Law, a famous 80-year-old equation that accurately describes many biological phenomena, although scientists don't agree on why it works. The team shows that Kleiber's Law captures the physics and mathematics underlying the evolution of plants' and animals' different, but equally efficient forms.
Our capacity to partner with biology to make useful things is limited by the tools that we can use to specify, design, prototype, test, and analyze natural or engineered biological systems. However, biology has typically been engaged as a "technology of last resort" in attempts to solve problems that other more mature technologies cannot. This lecture will examine some recent progress on virus genome redesign and hidden DNA messages from outer space, building living data storage, logic, and communication systems, and how simple but old and nearly forgotten engineering ideas are helping make biology easier to engineer.
A new breed of computer chips that operate more like the brain may be about to narrow the gulf between artificial and natural computation—between circuits that crunch through logical operations at blistering speed and a mechanism honed by evolution to process and act on sensory input from the real world. Advances in neuroscience and chip technology have made it practical to build devices that, on a small scale at least, process data the way a mammalian brain does. These “neuromorphic” chips may be the missing piece of many promising but unfinished projects in artificial intelligence, such as cars that drive themselves reliably in all conditions, and smartphones that act as competent conversational assistants.
Here's a fun little brain wrinkle pinch for all you non-math people out there (that should be everyone in the world*): the sum of all natural numbers, from one to infinity, is not a ridiculously big number like you would expect but actually just...
Software has become a universal language, the interface to our imagination and the world. What electricity and the combustion engine were to the early 20th century, software is to the early 21st century. I think of it as a layer that permeates contemporary societies. If we want to understand today's techniques of communication, representation, simulation, analysis, decision making, memory, vision, writing, and interaction, we must understand software.