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Ada Lovelace Distinguished Lecture Series

  • Prof. Anne Condon
13 april 2018
Science Campus
Einsteinweg 55
2333 CC Leiden
Collegezaal 2

Discovering the secret powers of bio-molecules

On Friday April 13th , Prof. Anne Condon from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, will hold the next Ada Lovelace Lecture. She will provide some background on the field of DNA programming and bio-molecular computation and outline some of the algorithmic and modeling problems that the field inspires. The lecture “How principles of programming can help us discover the secret powers of bio-molecules” starts at 14:00 in Lecture Room 2 of the Gorlaeus Building and is accessible to a broad audience.


For over two decades now, scientists from many disciplines have been asking: How can we compute with DNA molecules? Can we use DNA to build useful objects or mechanical devices?  Might DNA be a good storage medium?  The result has been a beguiling assortment of artifacts of growing complexity made from DNA, such as nano-scale logic circuits, smiley faces, tetrahedra and other 3D objects, dynamic walkers, and DNA-based archival storage systems. Underlying much this work, and necessary in order to scale it to greater complexity, are layers of abstraction that support a hierarchical design approach. At a high level of abstraction, chemical reaction networks can be used as a programming language, specifying how molecules of hypothetical species types might react to achieve desired results. Such programs can in principle be compiled to into working instantiations in a test tube, with DNA strands instantiating the molecular species. New questions of algorithmic efficiency and complexity arise in this context, as well as questions on how best to computationally model and simulate the kinetic behaviour of multiple interacting DNA strands.

Advancing women in computing

Prof. Anne Condon is an expert in computational complexity theory, biomolecular computation and bioinformatics. She has been awarded not only for her research contributions, but also for her leadership in increasing the participation of women in computer science research by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Computing Research Association (CRA).

Ada Lovelace Distinguished Lecture Series

“How principles of programming can help us discover the secret powers of bio-molecules” is the title of the second lecture in the Ada Lovelace Distinguished Lecture Series. Organised by the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), the lecture series brings outstanding computer scientists from around the world to Leiden University, to share exciting ideas and results from the forefront of computer science. Apart from computer scientists, alumni and students of computer science, anyone with a serious interest in the field is invited.


Please register free of charge for the Ada Lovelace Lecture by Prof. Anne Condon.

Ada Lovelace Distinguished Lecture Series