2012-2013 Distinguished Lecture Abstracts

This lecture is jointly sponsored by the Maxson Lecture Series in the Department of Mathematics. The receptions on Monday and Tuesday are co-sponsored by the Institute for Applied Math and Computational Science and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, respectively.

Algorithms in Molecular Biology

Dr. Richard M. Karp
Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
University of California, Berkeley

Seminar at 4:00 p.m., Monday, April 8, 2013 in Room 1105 Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building
Reception at 3:15 p.m. in Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building Lobby


The scientific enterprise is undergoing a profound transition. All sciences (natural, mathematical, social) are being transformed by computational concepts and abstractions, which afford new ways of looking at science's most fundamental questions, while raising new ones. In the life sciences, we believe that computational abstractions will be crucial in furthering our understanding of biological systems at all levels. In the social sciences there has been a convergence between computer scientists and economists, but also sociologists, as incentives and monetization became central in today's connected world, while the default platforms of economic transactions, and of important social phenomena, have become algorithmic. In the natural sciences, computation provides a novel point of view for understanding and challenging quantum physics, while insights into computational phenomena inform the study of phase transitions in statistical physics. We will illustrate these trends with examples from quantum computing, statistical physics, game theory, economic mechanism design, and molecular biology.


Theory of Computation as a Lens on the Sciences

Seminar at 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, 2013 in Room 2005, Emerging Technologies Building
Reception at 5:00 p.m. in Emerging Technologies Building Atrium


Advances in measurement, data acquisition, mathematical modeling and algorithms are transforming molecular biology. We will describe algorithmic developments in areas such as genomic sequencing, genome alignment, the inference of genetic regulatory networks and the mapping of genetic interactions among protein complexes and pathways.

These will involve tools such as dynamic programming, integer programming, and the design of heuristic combinatorial algorithms.



Richard Karp is one of the founders of modern algorithmic science. He is currently University Professor and professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California, Berkeley (where he also holds joint appointments in the Departments of Mathematics, Bioengineering, and Industrial Engineering and Operations Research). He is also the founding director of the new Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley and head of the algorithms group at the International Computer Science Institute. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the A.M. Turing Award, the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Kyoto Prize, the Fulkerson Prize, and 10 honorary degrees. He is a member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, the American Philosophical Society, and the French Academy of Sciences and is a fellow the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science. Among his many landmark results, his seminal paper on complexity theory elegantly revealed how NP-completeness touches upon numerous areas, including optimization, circuit design, computational geometry, graph theory, logic, and management science.

CSCE 681 Contact: Dr. Nancy Amato