Abstract. This workshop will address a fundamental question in theoretical biology: Does the relationship between statistical physics and the need of biological systems to process information underpin some of their deepest features? It recognizes that a core feature of biological systems is that they acquire, store and process information (i.e., perform computation). However to manipulate information in this way they require a steady flux of free energy from their environments. These two, inter-related attributes of biological systems are often taken for granted; they are not part of standard analyses of either the homeostasis or the evolution of biological systems. In this workshop we aim to fill in this major gap in our understanding of biological systems, by gaining deeper insight in the relation between the need for biological systems to process information and the free energy they need to pay for that processing.
The goal of this workshop is to address these issues by focusing on a set three specific question: 1) How has the fraction of free energy flux on earth that is used by biological computation changed with time?; 2) What is the free energy cost of biological computation / function?; 3) What is the free energy cost of the evolution of biological computation / function. In all of the se cases we are interested in the fundamental limits that the laws of physics impose on various aspects of living systems as expressed by these three questions.
Resident and visiting researchers are welcome to sit in on workshops.