In an interview on the Santa Fe Radio Café, SFI External Professor Stephanie Forrest explores how computer software and hardware systems might benefit from a studied imitation of living systems.

Over the last 20 years, computer networks and programs have gradually evolved to function more like biological systems, she says. Safeguarding computers against viruses is just one of many biological analogies in computing.

“Even when [natural systems] are not simple, they’re robust, which is why we’re trying to design computers to imitate them,” she tells the Radio Café. 

Recent research seeks to borrow more concepts from biology. The characteristics that make diverse ecosystems more resilient, for example, can make computers and their programs more robust to attack. She offers examples from her own projects and those of her students. 

Listen to the interview on the Santa Fe Radio Café (April 22, 2015)