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Call for Applications: Information and Entropy, a NIMBioS Investigative Workshop

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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@nimbios.org

t +1 865 974 9350

f +1 865 974 9461




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