A living cell and a piece of clay are both bags of molecules, yet one displays vastly more sophisticated behavior than the other. How? One answer is that the ballet of molecular interactions within cells leads to the emergence of an intricate network of reactions which behaves like a "biochemical circuit," processing information about the cellular environment. In recent times, the study of these reaction networks has been an exciting bridge between Mathematics and Biology. Many of the mathematical actors involved --- Markov chains, ordinary differential equations, Lyapunov functions, relative entropy, Poisson distributions, etc. --- are very familiar to electrical engineers. I will give a broad introduction to this area, and describe a scheme I have recently proposed which shows how a soup of molecules can do statistical estimation.
Manoj Gopalkrishnan received a B. Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Kharagpur in 2003, and a Ph. D. in Computer Science from University of Southern California in 2008. He has served as Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Duke University. Since 2009 he is a faculty member in the School of Technology and Computer Science at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He is a recipient of the Ramanujan fellowship.