What does DNA double helix have to do with computer science?

What does DNA double helix have to do with computer science?

Published: May 1, 2013.


Dr. Ray Klump

Dr. Ray Klump, professor and chair of Mathematics and Computer Science, recently presented, “Where DNA and CPU Meet: a presentation on how computer science and biology inform each other." The talk was part of the Lewis University Arts and Ideas series celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Watson and Crick's discovery of the DNA double helix.

“Computer science is increasingly applied to solve problems that are otherwise unsolvable in areas that are otherwise unexplorable. Through computer simulation and mathematical modeling, scientists from all fields can interact with models that capture critical aspects of a problem or system, identify new issues of focus, ask probing new questions, and draw new and potentially transformative collisions,” said Klump.

“Perhaps nowhere else is this interplay between computer science and other fields as promising as it is in the biological sciences. Thanks to sophisticated computer algorithms, cutting edge software, and new parallel computing architectures, scientists were able to sequence the three billion bases of a human's DNA as part of the 13-year-long human genome project. That same process can be done today for an individual in about a day. And the benefits of this work are tremendous. By tailoring the right medicine to a particular patient based on his or her DNA, doctors can prescribe treatments that have a better chance of working. The days of personalized medicine are rapidly approaching, and much of that promise is thanks to computer scientists,” he concluded.

Lewis University offers a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science as well as minors in Computer Science and in Cyber Security Science. It also co-manages a Master of Science in Information Security, which includes an innovative fast-track program that enables students to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. In addition to receiving personal attention from experienced faculty and learning in an attractive and modern facility, Computer Science students receive plenty of real-world experience, working on service projects for non-profits and taking advantage of numerous internship opportunities. Students acquire both the technical skills and the team-oriented problem-solving strategies necessary for a successful career, through a cutting-edge curriculum and integrated learning opportunities.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

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