Living systems are far-from-equilibrium systems consisting of many components that interact and share information among each other in a highly constrained fashion. Farita's research aims to illuminate which properties (e.g., modularity, hierarchy, heterogeneity) of that network of component interactions explain the thermodynamic efficiency of the computations they perform. For example, a social network is a living system, for which polarization is a computation that transforms the states of the nodes from a collectively diverse distribution to an N-modal (e.g., bimodal) distribution. By extending the framework of stochastic thermodynamics to apply to this flexible notion of living systems, Farita's Ph.D. will help make progress towards two major societal goals: i) to better understand how such systems or their internal constituents can fail, and ii) to better design systems which aim to replicate the feats (computational capacity, thermodynamic efficiency) achieved by living systems.
Farita Tasnim earned her B.S. in Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at the MIT Media Lab, and is now a Ph.D. candidate working on the theoretical physics of living systems at the MIT Media Lab.