BMT-99906 Information Processing and Biological Systems

Literature course, 4 credits.

Course responsible: Andre S. Ribeiro (andre dot sanchesribeiro at

Course Description: In recent decades, information theoretical methods and other tools, originally developed in the context of engineering and natural sciences, have been applied to study biological processes and systems. Simultaneously, biologically inspired methods are being applied in engineering research, e.g. evolutionary computing.

This course consists of the reading and reporting on a book that provides a compilation of chapters of renowned scientists working in this research area, that discuss both on how the processing of information in biological processes is currently understood and on how biological systems have inspired a number of information processing methodologies applied to artificial systems. The former includes topics ranging from information processing and propagation in gene regulatory networks to cognitive information processing related to natural language. The latter includes topics ranging from theory and application of genetic algorithms to artificial cognitive architectures. The book presents an overview on the state-of-art on how information processing relates to biological systems and to present the opinion of current leaders in the field on future directions of research and on outcomes to the society.

Written by Authors such as Professors S.A. Kauffman (TUT, Finland), M. Aldana (Univ. Autonoma, Mexico), M. Kaern (Toronto Univ., Canada), F. Emmert-Streib (Queens Univ., UK), and D. Cloud (Princeton Univ., USA), this book contains recent research results as well discussion on how biological systems process information from the environment. Given the variety of backgrounds of the authors, some chapters are more descriptive, other more mathematical. Published by Springer, one of the top Science Publishers, within the “Intelligent Systems Reference Library” Series, this book provides much guidance to students from Signal Processing by presenting various alternatives on how Signal Processing and close disciplines are being applied with success to better understand highly complex biological systems.


Info: “Information Processing and Biological Systems”, Editors: S. Niiranen and A. S. Ribeiro, Springer-Verlag, Series: Intelligent Systems Reference Library, Vol. 11, 1st Ed., 2011, 242 p., ISBN: 978-3-642-19620-1.


Requirements to complete course: To complete the course, the student is required to prepare: a verbal presentation (15 min., the audience consisting of the responsible professors and anyone who wishes to attend), a programming assignment and a 12-page summary of the contents of the book.


Evaluation criteria for the course: Grading is PASS/FAIL.


Prerequisites: None.

Remarks: The course is suitable for postgraduate studies.