New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

NYU Computer Scientist Shows How Evolution Meets Computation in New Book

May 10, 2010
405

Nature and technology may seem worlds apart, but New York University Computer Scientist Dennis Shasha maintains that the natural world can bolster the capacity of today’s most sophisticated machines. In Natural Computing: DNA, Quantum Bits, and the Future of Smart Machines, Shasha and co-author Cathy Lazere describe the work of 15 pioneers who have successfully harnessed nature’s power in advancing technology.

Increasingly complex processors and software have been utilized to overcome increasingly complex problems, but what happens when technology reaches the cognitive limits of the designers? Instead of trying to design for all scenarios, engineers are designing intelligent machines that synthesize and adapt to the world in which they operate.

Shasha and Lazere recount work in a promising field—natural computing—that has started to yield machines that exceed the capability of traditional technologies. Taking inspiration from life, scientists have learned how to create robots that move intelligently on Mars, spacecrafts that can heal themselves, and even methods to trade successfully on Wall Street—all through an increased understanding of how evolutionary ideas can aid in solving fundamentally non-algorithmic problems.

They also review the work of scientists, such as NYU Chemistry Professor Nadrian Seeman, who has successfully programmed not the behavior of certain types of software, but more significantly, the actions of life’s most fundamental building blocks through a “DNA assembly line.” While this may sound exotic, it can also be practical.

“If you want a device that will repair skin, bones, or arteries,“  authors Shasha and Lazere explain, “it makes far more sense to build the device out of DNA, viruses, or cells, than to build it out of electronics.”

Shasha is a professor at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Lazere, a freelance writer, is a former editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit. They previously co-authored Out of Their Minds: The Lives and Discoveries of 15 Great Computer Scientists (Springer).

For review copies, contact Alice Rha, W. W. Norton & Company, at 212.790.4295 or arha@wwnorton.com.


This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Faculty, Research

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: James Devitt | (212) 998-6808

NYU Computer Scientist Shows How Evolution Meets Computation in New Book

Nature and technology may seem worlds apart, but NYU's Dennis Shasha maintains that the natural world can bolster the capacity of today’s most sophisticated machines in Natural Computing: DNA, Quantum Bits, and the Future of Smart Machines, co-authored with Cathy Lazere.


Search News



NYU In the News

NYU Received a Record Number of Applications

Capital New York reported NYU received a record 60,322 applications for the class of 2019, an increase of about 15 percent since last year.

NYU Students Help City Crack Down on Hookah Bars

Capital New York reported that NYU students helped New York City crack down on hookah bars that illegally include tobacco in their hookahs:

Rudin Center Study Says Mass Transit Helps Economic Mobility

The Wall Street Journal wrote about a report by Wagner’s Rudin Center that showed that mass transit could be more important than education in determining economic mobility.

Brennan Center Report Says Campaign Spending Has Jumped

Frontline did a piece about a report by the Brennan Center for Justice that said that campaign spending by outside groups has more than doubled in the last five years.

NYU’s Dorms Ranked Among the Best in the Nation

Hometalk.com ranked NYU’s student residences third in the country in its list of best college dorms.

 


NYU Footer