"Nonequilibrium physics and information processing in living systems" by Yuhai Tu (IBM)

Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Thursdays, 4:00-5:00 pm

1-434 Physics and Astronomy (map)
Reception from 3:45-4:00 p.m.
 (unless otherwise posted)


Guest Speaker: Yuhai Tu (IBM T. J. Watson Research Center)

Talk Title:  “Nonequilibrium physics and information processing in living systems”


Living organisms need to obtain and process information accurately, which is crucial for their survival. Information processing in living systems, ranging from signal transduction in a single cell to image processing in the human brain, are performed by biological circuits (networks), which are driven out of equilibrium. These biochemical and neural circuits are inherently noisy. However, certain accuracy is required to carry out proper biological functions. How do biological networks process information with noisy components? What is the free energy cost of accurate biological computing? Is there a fundamental limit for its performance of the biological functions? What is the optimal design for achieving these information processing tasks? In this talk, we will describe our recent work in trying to address these general questions in the context of two basic cellular computing tasks: sensory adaptation for memory encoding [1,2]; biochemical oscillation for accurate timekeeping [3,4].

[1] “The energy-speed-accuracy trade-off in sensory adaptation”, G. Lan, P. Sartori, S. Neumann, V. Sourjik, and Yuhai Tu, Nature Physics 8, 422-428, 2012.

[2] “Free energy cost of reducing noise while maintaining a high sensitivity”, Pablo Sartori and Yuhai Tu, Phys. Rev. Lett. 2015. 115: 118102.

[3] “The free-energy cost of accurate biochemical oscillations”, Y. Cao, H. Wang, Q. Ouyang, and Yuhai Tu, Nature Physics 11, 772, 2015.

[4] “Design principles for enhancing phase sensitivity and suppressing phase fluctuations simultaneously in biochemical oscillatory systems”, C. Fei, Y. Cao, Q. Ouyang, and Yuhai Tu, Nature Communications, 2018.

For more information, contact Yaroslav Tserkovnyak

We thank the following people for their contributions to the wine fund for the post-colloquium reception:
Professors Katsushi Arisaka, Andrea Ghez, Karoly Holczer, Huan Huang, HongWen Jiang, Per Kraus, Alexander Kusenko, Matthew Malkan, Mayank Mehta, Warren Mori, Ni Ni, Seth Putterman, David Saltzberg, Yaroslav Tserkovnyak, Vladimir Vassiliev, Shenshen wang, and Nathan Whitehorn.

1-434 PAB