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[Computational-biology] Call for Applications: Information and Entropy, a NIMBioS Investigative Workshop

Catherine Crawley via comp-bio%40net.bio.net (by ccrawley from nimbios.org)
Tue Jul 1 10:24:26 EST 2014

The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis 
(NIMBioS) is now accepting applications for its Investigative Workshop, 
"Information and Entropy," to be held April 8-10, 2015, at NIMBioS.

*Objectives: *Information theory and entropy methods are becoming 
powerful tools in biology, from the level of individual cells, to whole 
ecosystems, to experimental design, model-building, and the measurement 
of biodiversity. The aim of this investigative workshop is to synthesize 
different ways of applying these concepts to help systematize and unify 
work in biological systems. Early attempts at "grand syntheses" often 
misfired, but applications of information theory and entropy to specific 
highly focused topics in biology have been increasingly successful. In 
ecology, entropy maximization methods have proven successful in 
predicting the distribution and abundance of species. Entropy is also 
widely used as a measure of biodiversity. Work on the role of 
information in game theory has shed new light on evolution. As a 
population evolves, it can be seen as gaining information about its 
environment. The principle of maximum entropy production has emerged as 
a fascinating yet controversial approach to predicting the behavior of 
biological systems, from individual organisms to whole ecosystems. This 
investigative workshop will bring together top researchers from these 
diverse fields to share insights and methods and address some 
long-standing conceptual problems.

Goals of the workshop:

 1. To study the validity of the principle of Maximum Entropy Production
    (MEP), which states that biological systems - and indeed all open,
    non-equilibrium systems - act to produce entropy at the maximum rate.
 2. To familiarize all the participants with applications to ecology of
    the MaxEnt method: choosing the probabilistic hypothesis with the
    highest entropy subject to the constraints of our data. We will
    compare MaxEnt with competing approaches and examine whether MaxEnt
    provides a sufficient justification for the principle of MEP.
 3. To clarify relations between known characterizations of entropy, the
    use of entropy as a measure of biodiversity, and the use of MaxEnt
    methods in ecology.
 4. To develop the concept of evolutionary games as "learning" processes
    in which information is gained over time.
 5. To study the interplay between information theory and the
    thermodynamics of individual cells and organelles.

*Location: *NIMBioS at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

*Co-Organizers: *John Baez, Mathematics, Univ. of California, Riverside; 
Marc Harper, Educational and Biotechnology Consultant;
John Harte, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Univ. of 
California, Berkeley

For more information about the workshop and a link to the online 
application form, go to http://www.nimbios.org/workshops/WS_entropy

Participation in the workshop is by application only. Individuals with a 
strong interest in the topic are encouraged to apply, and successful 
applicants will be notified within two weeks of the application 
deadline. If needed, financial support for travel, meals, and lodging is 
available for workshop attendees.

*Application deadline:* November 12, 2014

The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis 
(NIMBioS) (http://www.nimbios.org) brings together researchers from 
around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to 
investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in the life 
sciences. NIMBioS is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the 
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture with additional support from The University of Tennessee, 

Catherine Crawley, Ph.D.
Communications Manager
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS)
University of Tennessee
1122 Volunteer Blvd, Ste. 106
Knoxville, TN 37996
e ccrawley from nimbios.org <mailto:ccrawley from nimbios.org>
t +1 865 974 9350 <tel:+1%20865%20974%209350>
f +1 865 974 9461 <tel:+1%20865%20974%209461>
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