Distinguished Lecture - Computing and the Future of Medicine

Location: Torgersen 2150
Date: Friday, April 23, 2010
Time: 11:15am-12:30pm
This talk is open to the general public.

Ian Foster
Argonne National Laboratory

Computational methods have the potential to transform both biological science and clinical practice over the next decades. Dramatic increases in the quantities of experimental, clinical, and other data, and in our ability to federate data from many sources, are enabling powerful computational approaches such as the mining and integration of data from huge databases in search of novel patterns and correlations. Rapid advances in both computer power and numerical methods enable the use of computational modeling and simulation to study previously inaccessible phenomena at the molecular, cellular, anatomical, and population levels. This marriage of modern biological and medical research with the computational sciences is destined to capture new levels of biological complexity that will motivate new theory, unearth novel biological concepts, and ultimately, drive new diagnostic strategies and treatment approaches. I review some of these opportunities and the challenges that they raise for computational and computer science.

Ian Foster is Director of the Computation Institute, a joint institute of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, where he is also the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science and an Argonne Distinguished Fellow. He received a BSc (Hons I) degree from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and a PhD from Imperial College, United Kingdom, both in computer science. His research deals with distributed, parallel, and data-intensive computing technologies, and innovative applications of those technologies to scientific problems. Methods and software he has developed underpin many large national and international cyberinfrastructures. Dr. Foster is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the British Computer Society. His awards include the British Computer Society's award for technical innovation, the Global Information Infrastructure (GII) Next Generation award, the British Computer Society's Lovelace Medal, R&D Magazine's Innovator of the Year, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Canterbury.