“I got my Ph.D. in CS at Iowa State University, followed by postdocs at University of Western Ontario and Caltech. I am delighted to be teaching Theory of Computation this fall at UC-Davis and to share my enthusiasm for my research!

“What IS my research, you ask?  I am interested in problems at the intersection of physics, chemistry, biology, and of course, computer science.

“But… not the kind of problems you might be thinking of right now: not the traditional ‘computing in service of natural science’ (e.g., bioinformatics, molecular dynamics simulation, computational chemistry). Rather, certain molecular systems — such as a test tube of reacting chemicals, a genetic regulatory network, or a growing crystal — can be interpreted as doing computation themselves. I want to understand the fundamental logical and physical limits to computation by such means.

“And by ‘understand’, I’m talking about the deepest kind of understanding you can have about a subject: the kind you get by proving mathematical theorems about it. My work touches on chemical reaction network theory, DNA nanotechnology, thermodynamics, synthetic biology, distributed computing, computability and complexity theory, Wang tiling theory, probability theory… long story short, I like this research because it gives me the chance to learn about so many areas of science. My graduate course ECS 289A, offered this winter, is a great way to find out more!”

David Doty, PhD, Assistant Professor