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CSE Seminar

The Biology of Software : Evolution, Robustness, Diversity

Stephanie ForrestProfessorUniversity of New Mexico
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Biological design principles can potentially change the way we study,
engineer, maintain, and develop large dynamic software systems. For
example, computer programmers like to think of software as the product
of intelligent design, carefully crafted to meet well-specified goals.
In reality, large software systems evolve inadvertently through the
actions of many individual programmers, often leading to unanticipated
consequences. Because software is subject to constraints similar to
those faced by evolving biological systems, we have much to gain by
viewing software through the lens of biology. The talk will highlight
how abstractions of biological processes can lead to new computational
algorithms and engineering principles using examples from my own
research. Specifically, it will show how the biological concepts of
Darwinian evolution and immunology can be applied to problems such as
repairing software bugs and cybersecurity.
Stephanie Forrest is Regents Distinguished Professor of Computer
Science at the Univ. of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where she served as
Dept. Chair 2006-2011. She is a member of the Santa Fe Institute
External Faculty, and she spent 2013-2014 at the U.S. Dept. of State
working on cyber-policy. She was educated at St. John's College (B.A.)
and The University of Michigan (M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer and
Communication Sciences). Forrest has over twenty years experience
leading interdisciplinary research and education programs, primarily in
the intersection of biology and computation, including work on computer
security, software engineering, and biological modeling. Some of her
awards include: the SFI Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lectures (2013), the UNM
Annual Research Lecture (2012), the ACM/AAAI Allen Newell Award (2011),
and the Presidential Young Investigator Award (1991). She is a Fellow
of the IEEE.

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