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Carnegie Mellon leads NSF initiative to develop modeling tools for disease and complex systems
Date:8/19/2009

PITTSBURGHA multidisciplinary team led by Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Edmund M. Clarke has received a five-year, $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation's Expeditions in Computing program to create revolutionary computational tools that will advance science on a broad array of fronts, from discovering new cancer treatments to designing safer aircraft.

The researchers will combine Model Checking and Abstract Interpretation, two methods that have been successful in finding errors in computer circuitry and software, and extend them so they can provide insights into models of complex systems, whether they are biological or electronic.

Specifically, computer scientists, biomedical researchers and engineers from eight leading research institutions will use the techniques to better understand what causes deadly pancreatic cancer and the common heart rhythm problem known as atrial fibrillation. At the same time, they will use the techniques to study the embedded computer systems that are increasingly critical to the safe operation of aircraft and automobiles.

"Biological and embedded computer systems may be on opposite ends of the research spectrum, but they pose similar challenges for creating and analyzing computational models of their behavior," said Clarke, the FORE Systems University Professor of Computer Science and the 2007 winner of the Association for Computing Machinery's Turing Award, the computer science equivalent of the Nobel Prize. "Solutions to these problems at either end will enable new approaches to modeling across the spectrum that ultimately will improve health and safety. With this new initiative, I think we finally have achieved the critical mass of expertise and effort needed to crack these puzzles."

In addition to Clarke, who is one of the co-inventors of Model Checking, the research team includes project Deputy Director Amir Pnueli, a New York University computer scientist and a Turing Awar
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Contact: Byron Spice
bspice@cs.cmu.edu
412-268-9068
Carnegie Mellon University
Source:Eurekalert

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