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19-23 July 2011
Centro Stefano Franscini, Monte Verita, Switzerland


Organizers: Mustafa Khammash (U.C. Santa Barbara), John Lygeros (ETH Zurich), Joerg Stelling (ETH Zurich)

Scope and Aim: Uncertainty and randomness play a central role in many processes in biology. For example, uncertainty is inherent in the biochemical reactions governing all aspects of cell behavior; it is therefore a fact of life, quite literally, at the molecular level. In addition to random encounters between molecules giving rise to chemical reactions, uncertainty also manifests itself at other levels of the biological organization, from random encounters between cells giving rise to organogenesis to random encounters between animals in population dynamics.

The aim of this three day conference is to expose the synergies that will allow methods from mathematics, engineering, computer science, physics, and biology to jointly address the challenges randomness poses in our understanding of biological systems. The conference will bring together leading researchers from all these fields that have faced and addressed the issue of uncertainty in biological processes from different perspectives. Our hope is that this interaction will promote a new, common understanding of the issues, sparking follow on research in this novel and challenging field.

Format: The workshop will be organized around themes (origins of stochasticity in biological systems, experimental methods, computational tools, etc). Each will be introduced by a keynote address setting the stage, followed by technical presentations exposing details of particular aspects, poster sessions to provide the opportunity to students and junior researchers to present their work, and brain storming discussions to summarize the key concepts and lessons learned. The keynote addresses will have a substantial tutorial element, to introduce the non-experts to the different fields. This will make the workshop ideal for students and young researchers who are interested in getting involved in this area.

Registration: Interested participants are kindly requested to fill out the preregistration form at


Presentations are scheduled to start in the morning of July 20 and finish in the afternoon of July 22. We therefore recommend that participants make plans to arrive on July 19 and depart on July 23. Due to limited availability of rooms in the Center participants are encouraged to share rooms. If you know of other people who may be interested in the workshop with whom you would like to share a room please encourage them to register at the same time and indicate this on the registration form. Else just indicate your willingness to share by selecting the "Double" room type.

We anticipate to finalize the list of participants by April 15, 2011. Information on payment procedures will be provided at this stage. The cost of participation is estimated at CHF1100 (including 4 nights accommodation, all meals and coffee breaks).

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