.NET Rocks!

Biological Computing with Colin Gravill

Episode #1139 Thursday, May 14, 2015

Can biology inform computing? Or computing help biology? Yes! Carl and Richard talk to MSR scientist Colin Gravill about biological computing. Alas, the conversation is not about making computers out of biological materials, but there is some discussion about using DNA to do some kinds of computing as well as building synthetic life from modified cells. Colin talks about the tools they're building to be able to simulate cell generations and understand how stem cells evolve into specialized cells. A cool technology/biology Geek Out!


Colin Gravill

Colin Gravill is a research software developer in the Biological Computation group at Microsoft Research. He has previously worked in fluid dynamics, earthquake simulation, terahertz spectroscopy, and is now helping to apply computer science approaches to the messy world of biology. He studies synthetic biology and molecular computing using F# in-between trying to write better JavaScript. The Biological Computation team is trying to use programming methods to understand and build biological systems. The aim is to predictably design new functionality out of genes and DNA that can be used in medical treatment and industrial processes. They use familiar software engineering tools like domain specific languages and reusable components. The same satisfiability solvers (Z3) that are used to prove correctness in device drivers, they turn to fragments of DNA to make sure you don’t experience bugs where you really don’t want them!


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