Building Artificial Cells Will Be a Noisy Business
Erik Winfree, Professor of Computer Science, Computation and Neural Systems, and Bioengineering, explains, "I tend to think of cells as really small robots. Biology has programmed natural cells, but now engineers are starting to think about how we can program artificial cells. When I program my computer, I can think entirely in terms of deterministic processes. But when I try to engineer what is essentially a program at the molecular scale, I have to think in terms of probabilities and stochastic (random) processes. This is inherently more difficult, but I like challenges. And if we are ever to succeed in creating artificial cells, these are the sorts of problems we need to address." [Caltech Release]
ENGenious Wins Silver!
The 2013 issue of ENGenious has won a silver award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VII in the Awards of Excellence category of Annual Magazines. The award is given by the CASE District VII Board of Directors and the Awards of Excellence Committee to "superior magazines published once a year." First published in 2001, ENGenious is a publication for alumni and friends of the Caltech Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS). The goal of the publication is to highlight the contributions of the EAS faculty, students, and alumni in research, education, and industry. [ENGenious]
Caltech Undergraduates Organize Hackathon
Last weekend two thousand top student programmers came together for 36 hours to produce websites, apps, and hardware using open-source libraries and application programming interfaces (API). All code had to be written during the hackathon. HackTech, a partnership between Caltech's and UCLA's networks of hackers and entrepreneurs, was the host of the event which is being called the biggest student-run hackathon ever. [LA Times Article]