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Frontiers: Math Bio & AI

Frontiers: Math Bio & AI

On Saturday, April 6th, MSSM held its highly anticipated Themed Weekend, offering students and faculty a deep dive into the realms of Mathematical Biology and Artificial Intelligence. The event, known for drawing upon the expertise of our distinguished alumni, did not disappoint, showcasing insights from Dr. Jason Dark ('04) and Alex Altair ('07).

Dr. Dark illuminated the intricate world of mathematical biology and its reliance on differential equations. He creatively likened math education to learning how to wield a hammer, suggesting that applied mathematicians take these tools to construct the metaphorical houses of our understanding of the natural world. Delving into the mechanics behind mutations and bacterial resistance, he discussed the groundbreaking Luria-Delbrück experiment and how it exemplifies the intersection of random chance with biological outcomes—drawing a memorable comparison to the game of Plinko from "The Price is Right". His session not only demystified complex concepts but also sparked an engaging dialogue among students, underscoring the importance of curiosity and questioning in scientific advancement.

Alex Altair's presentation shifted the focus to the dynamic field of Artificial Intelligence, emphasizing the critical need for safety and ethical considerations as AI continues to evolve. Echoing a principle that resonates deeply within the scientific community, Altair remarked, "one of the best ways to control something is to understand it." His talk highlighted the dual challenge of advancing AI technology while ensuring its alignment with human values and safety. By addressing the current challenges in AI, Altair inspired students to approach technology with both innovation and caution.

The Themed Weekend at MSSM once again proved to be a fertile ground for exploration and inspiration, drawing from the rich experiences of its alumni. Dr. Dark and Mr. Altair not only shared their professional journeys but also ignited a passion for inquiry and innovation among students. As MSSM continues to foster a community where academic excellence meets real-world applications, events like these remind us of the transformative power of education and the endless possibilities that lie at the intersection of knowledge and imagination.