The purpose of this grant is to develop an interdisciplinary course in Informatics and Natural Computation that would service undergraduate computer, natural, and physical science majors. Informatics is the science of information, the practice of information processing, and the engineering of information systems. Informatics studies the structure, algorithms, behavior, and interactions of natural and artificial systems that store, process, access and communicate information. Natural computing refers to a collection of disciplines that unite nature with computing in three distinct ways:
1. Nature serves as a source of inspiration for the development of computational tools or systems that are used for solving complex problems.
2. Computers are used as a means of synthesizing the structural patterns and behaviors of natural phenomena.
3. Natural materials such as those molecules found in nature (e.g. DNA) or those designed by humans (e.g. nanotechnology) are employed as the computers.
The logical intersection point between natural computing and the sciences is in the field of bioinformatics, a growing interdisciplinary scientific area aimed at analyzing, interpreting, and managing information from biological data, sequences, and structures. By employing natural computing methods, it is possible to solve bioinformatics problems in classification, clustering, feature selection, data visualization, and data mining.
Marchese, Francis T., "Informatics and Natural Computation: Final Report" (2010). Cornerstone 3 Reports : Interdisciplinary Informatics. 34.