Spring 2014

Evolutionary Biology and the Theory of Computing

Jan. 13May 16, 2014

Evolutionary biology is an intellectually rich field which has advanced remarkably through a synergistic interplay between deep understanding of biology and mathematical techniques, especially from probability and statistics. Over the past several decades, the role of computer science in studying biology has grown enormously, and computation has now become an indispensable part of the intellectual mix. Many current problems in evolutionary biology push the limits of computation, and new algorithmic insights are needed to make progress.

The objective of this program is to promote the interaction between theoretical computer scientists and researchers from evolutionary biology, physics, probability, and statistics. The participants of the program will collaborate to identify and tackle some of the most important theoretical and computational challenges arising from evolutionary biology. The major themes of the program will be sound mathematical modeling, rigorous methods for statistical estimation, and computational scalability.

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Yun S. Song (UC Berkeley; chair), Andrew Clark (Cornell University), Rick Durrett (Duke University), Charles H. Langley (UC Davis), Christos Papadimitriou (UC Berkeley), Leslie Valiant (Harvard University).
Long-Term Participants (including Organizers): 
David Aldous (UC Berkeley), Ivona Bezáková (Rochester Institute of Technology), Nick Barton (IST Austria), Nayantara Bhatnagar (University of Delaware), Andrew Clark (Cornell University), Graham Coop (UC Davis), Constantinos Daskalakis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Michael Desai (Harvard University), Rick Durrett (Duke University), Eleazar Eskin (University of California, Los Angeles), Alison Etheridge (University of Oxford), Steven Evans (UC Berkeley), Marc Feldman (Stanford University), Vitaly Feldman (IBM Research), Daniel Fisher (Stanford University), Dan Gusfield (UC Davis), Oskar Hallatschek (UC Berkeley), Eran Halperin (Tel Aviv University), Joachim Hermisson (University of Vienna), John Huelsenbeck (UC Berkeley), Varun Kanade (UC Berkeley), Sampath Kannan (University of Pennsylvania), Joachim Krug (University of Cologne), Charles H. Langley (UC Davis), Adi Livnat (University of Haifa), Gerton Lunter (University of Oxford), Charles Marshall (UC Berkeley), Gil McVean (University of Oxford), Elchanan Mossel (UC Berkeley and University of Pennsylvania), Rasmus Nielsen (UC Berkeley), Lior Pachter (UC Berkeley), Christos Papadimitriou (UC Berkeley), Periklis Papakonstantinou (Tsinghua University), Nick Patterson (Broad Institute), Peter Pfaffelhuber (Freiburg University), Lea Popovic (Concordia University), Satish Rao (UC Berkeley), Sebastien Roch (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Eric Siggia (The Rockefeller University), Montgomery Slatkin (UC Berkeley), Yun S. Song (UC Berkeley; chair), Mike Steel (University of Canterbury, New Zealand), Daniel Štefankovič (University of Rochester), Wolfgang Stephan (Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich), David Tse (Stanford University), Gregory Valiant (Stanford University), Leslie Valiant (Harvard University), Paul Valiant (Brown University), Nisheeth Vishnoi (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne).
Research Fellows: 
Claudia Bank (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Anand Bhaskar (Stanford University), Shishi Luo (UC Berkeley), Iain Mathieson (Harvard University), Sriram Sankararaman (Harvard University), Justin Thaler (Yahoo Labs; Microsoft Research Fellow), Andrew Wan (Tsinghua University; Google Research Fellow), Daniel Weissman (IST Austria), Daniel Živković (Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich), James Zou (Harvard University).
Visiting Graduate Students and Postdocs: 
Erick Chastain (Rutgers University), Jeremy Berg (University of California, Davis), Samira Daruki (University of Utah), Jack Kamm (UC Berkeley), Sara Sheehan (UC Berkeley), Matthias Steinruecken (UC Berkeley), Jonathan Terhorst (UC Berkeley).


Jan. 21Jan. 24, 2014
Organizers: Yun S. Song (UC Berkeley)
Feb. 18Feb. 21, 2014
Organizers: Andrew Clark (Cornell University), Rasmus Nielsen (UC Berkeley), Yun S. Song (UC Berkeley)
Mar. 17Mar. 21, 2014
Organizers: Nick Barton (IST Austria), Christos Papadimitriou (UC Berkeley), Mike Steel (University of Canterbury, New Zealand), Leslie Valiant (Harvard University)
Apr. 28May 2, 2014
Organizers: Rick Durrett (Duke University), Steven Evans (UC Berkeley)
Jul. 27Jul. 29, 2015
Organizers: Anand Bhaskar (Stanford University), Shishi Luo (UC Berkeley), Yun S. Song (UC Berkeley)

Program image by Anand Bhaskar. The image shows several generations of two populations evolving according to the Wright-Fisher model of reproduction, while occasionally exchanging offspring with each other. It was generated as a random sample from this model conditioned on some edges being fixed to form the letters.