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Physics of Biological Data Analysis

We are organizing a workshop on “Physics of Biological Data Analysis” at the Aspen Center for Physics this summer, from July 21 to August 18, 2024. 

The amount and quality of biological datasets available is fast increasing. This holds at the molecular and cellular scales (gene sequence and expression data), but also at larger ones (populations and communities of cells, behavior of one or multiple animals). Making sense of these extraordinarily rich datasets calls for new inference and interpretation methods, and ultimately new theory. Since microscopic theories of biology may not provide insight on larger scales, data-driven approaches play an integral role in biophysics, for example guiding us to discovering new physical laws.
Various analysis approaches inspired by statistical physics and by machine learning are currently being developed. They range from fitting models to model-free analysis, and include supervised and unsupervised approaches. Recent advances in machine learning offer powerful new methods. For instance, some deep neural networks capture very well the rich structure of biological sequence data. Physics-based concepts play important parts in these analysis approaches, including deep learning ones. In turn, these models provide insight on biophysical phenomena.
This workshop will bring together scientists modeling biological data, performing and analyzing data-rich experiments, and those who are interested in developing, using and understanding new data analysis methods, such as deep learning. We will compare approaches, discuss successes and failures in data analysis, and reflect on future directions.

We invite you to apply to the workshop. We would also appreciate your help in encouraging other people who are active in this field to apply.  Applications are now open.

Note that we cannot guarantee admission to the workshop.  Admission to the workshop is granted not by the workshop organizers, but by the Admissions Committee of the Center. Because of the constraints imposed by the rest of the Aspen Center for Physics program, they are usually not able to admit everyone who applies.

Marianne Bauer, Anne-Florence Bitbol, Ilya Nemenman and Greg Stephens

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