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Colloquium - Mitchell

What Can Complex Systems Research Contribute to Computer Science
Santa Fe Institute

In recent years, much attention has been paid to a collection of interdisciplinary scientific efforts now known as "complex systems." These efforts are aimed at understanding and designing systems -- both natural and artificial -- in which large numbers of relatively simple components with limited interactions and no central control give rise to complicated dynamics, sophisticated information processing, and the ability to adapt to changing environments. Such systems include the brain, the immune system, global economies, biological evolution, and, increasingly, distributed and decentralized computing systems.

In this talk I will argue that this type of interdisciplinary research can make significant contributions to computer science in many areas, including adaptive control, machine learning, parallel and distributed computing, and the theory of computation. As examples, I will describe two of my own projects: the first on the theoretical foundations of evolutionary computation methods, and the second on the evolutionary design of cellular automata -- spatially extended dynamical systems that serve as an idealized testbed for designing "collective" computation in complex systems.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)