April 3, 2006: Seminar: David Harel ''On Comprehensive Biological Modeling: Some Ruminations on the What, the How and the Why''

The University of Illinois at Chicago

Department of Computer Science

2005-2006 Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series

On Comprehensive Biological Modeling: Some Ruminations on the What, the How and the Why

David Harel
The Weizmann Institute of Science
Monday, April 3, 2006
11:00 a.m., Room 1000 SEO


This talk will discuss the idea of comprehensive modeling of Biological systems, where the main purpose is to understand the system in detail and to use that understanding to analyze and predict behavior in silico. I will address the motivation for such modeling and the philosophy underlying the techniques for carrying it out, as well as the crucial question of when such models are to be deemed valid, or complete. The examples I will present briefly will be of biological systems, but the ideas apply to other systems too, including ones from the social, physical and economic arenas. To address the question of completeness ("when are we done?") I will propose a Turing-like test, borrowed from artificial intelligence, but with a Popperian twist that caters for the continuous advances in human Knowledge over time.

Brief bio:

Professor David Harel has been at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel since 1980, and is incumbent of the William Sussman Professorial Chair in Mathematics. He was Head of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from 1989 to 1995, and was Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science from 1998 to the end of 2004. He is also co-founder of I-Logix, Inc., Andover, MA.

He received a B.Sc. from Bar-Ilan University (1974), an M.Sc. from Tel-Aviv University (1976) and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1978). He has spent two years at IBM's Yorktown Heights research center, sabbatical years at Carnegie-Mellon and Cornell Universities, and shorter visiting positions at IBM, Lucent Technologies Bell Labs, DEC, NASA, University of Birmingham, Verimag, and the National University of Singapore. From 1991 to 1999 he was an adjunct professor at the Open University of Israel.

Host Professor Lenore Zuck

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