DISTINGUISHED LECTURE SERIES: BIology as Computation
We argue that computational models have an essential role in uncovering the principles behind a variety of biological phenomena. In particular we consider recent results relating to the following three questions: How can brains, given their known resource constraints such as the sparsity of connections and slow elements, do any significant information processing at all? How can evolution, in only a few billion years, evolve such complex mechanisms as it has? How can cognitive systems manipulate large amounts of such uncertain knowledge and get usefully reliable results? We show that each of these problems can be formulated as a quantitative question for a computational model, and argue that solutions to these formulations provide some understanding of these biological phenomena.