David L. Phillips ’81 is director of the Program on Peace-Building and Rights at Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights. Phillips has worked as a senior adviser to the United Nations Secretariat and served as foreign affairs expert and senior adviser to the U.S. Department of State during the administrations of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama.
This event is sponsored by the Department of Political Science at Amherst College, along with support from the Lamont Funds, and is free and open to the public.
Nathan Derr, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences at Smith College, will present "Investigating the Emergent Behavior of Teams of Cytoskeletal Motors Using DNA Origami and Single-Molecule Microscopy."
The Derr lab pursues the biophysical and cell biological mechanisms of the cytoskeletal molecular motors dynein and kinesin. The group studies these molecular machines in two ways: 1) at the level of individual motors to better understand how they convert ATP into the productive work required by the cell, and 2) in small ensembles that allow us to observe how these motors interact with one another at the nanoscale. In these studies, the lab often employs techniques from the field of DNA structural nanotechnology. The Derr lab also pursues synthetic biology and the application of molecular motors to engineered nanoscale transport devices.
A quantum annealer is a computing system that exploits quantum effects-- such as superposition and entanglement --to perform computations. The quantum annealing systems built by D-Wave are designed to be efficient at solving NP-hard optimization problems. This talk will give an overview of how they work, what types of problems they can solve, and what is known to date about their performance.
Dr. Catherine McGeoch is a principal scientist at D-Wave. She was formerly the Beitzel Professor in Technology and Society at Amherst College and, for 27 years, a member of the computer science department at Amherst.