Applied and Computational Mathematics Seminar: “The Role of Mutual Information in Biology”

Monday April 30, 2018 5:00pm Yost 306


Speaker: Andrew Eckford, York University

Biography: Andrew Eckford is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at York University, Toronto, Ontario. He received the B.Eng. degree from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1996, and the M.A.Sc. and Ph.D. Degrees from the University of Toronto in 1999 and 2004, respectively, all in Electrical Engineering.Andrew held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Torono, prior to taking up a faculty postion at York in 2006. Andrew’s research interests include the application of information theory to nonconventional channels and systems, especially the use of molecular and biological means to communicate. Andrew’s research has been covered in media including the Economist and The Wall Street Journal. His research received the 2015 IET Communications Innovation Award, and was a finalist for the 2014 Bell Labs Prize. Andrew is also a co-author of the textbook Molecular Communication, published by Csambridge University Press

Abstract: The mutual information give the maximum rate at which information can be reliably sent over a channel. When faced with a new kind of communication system, it is natural for information theorists to calculate mutual information; however, is this quantity relevant for biological communication systems? In this talk, I give two examples showing the relevance of mutual information to biological communication systems: first, in terms of maximizing biological fitness; and second in terms of the ultimate energy efficiency of biological communication. I also give examples of biological communication systems where information can be calculated such as in signal transduction.

Host: Dr. Peter Thomas.

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