Abstract. Plant growth and development is tightly coupled to the environment. These external inputs are processed within organs in order to optimize the timing of key decisions, such as the termination of dormancy or commencement of flowering. In order to better understand how collections of cells in plants process information, parallels and differences between these naturally evolved organisms and engineered computational systems are being examined. Specifically, whether the control principles of distributed computation also apply to information processing in plants. By viewing plant organs as integrated systems of interacting cells, we are mapping intercellular connectivity into networks to reveal the multicellular “circuitry” plants use to compute. Integrating these topological templates with mathematical models capturing the genetic programs that operate within individual cells enables the impact of each cell organization and communication rate on the timing of emergent decision-making to be examined. The development of further theory to identify the bounds of information processing in plants will enable their transformation into rational distributed computing devices.
Noyce Conference Room
George Bassel (University of Birmingham)
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