The Biologically Inspired Neural & Dynamical Systems (BINDS) Laboratory at the Computer Science Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst was created to advance research in biologically-inspired computing and computational methods applied to Biology and Medicine. It is headed by Professor Hava Siegelmann.
By studying biological models we wish to advance towards two goals. First, by understanding the dynamics within an organism we will develop a computational-based understanding of diseases and propose dynamical and computational principles for treatments (e.g., modeling of circadian system, identifying gene networks, analyzing decision making, and studying apoptosis). Second, we will create more sophisticated computers which will communicate with and better serve humanity (e.g., introducing active information retrieval in databases, analog computers, and studying emotional communication to improve human/computer interaction).
Biological systems are so much more complex than current synthetic systems, partially due to the ability of the biological system to concurrently process in different levels at once, thus enabling superb fault tolerant mechanisms. For example, the genetic network controls the intercellular behavior, and these affect the inter-cellular communications among cells. The communicating cells coordinate and become clusters which work in harmony on sub-tasks, up to the organism level, including memories, feelings, decision making and interaction with the environment. Feedback direction is stimulated by environmental factors which are constantly received, evaluated, and acted upon. To gain understanding into the biological systems we use sophisticated methods from various analytical fields of science including dynamical systems, complexity science, and computer science.