Winning the War on Error: Solving the Halting Problem and Curing Cancer
Errors in code for software lead to failures both routine and catastrophic – and to the vulnerabilities at the root of the escalating security crisis. Errors in code for people – the human genome – give rise to chronic conditions, devastating rare diseases and, for half of us, cancer. This talk envisions how to end errors in code – both digital and biological – through conservatively approximating solutions to the halting problem for the former and through a computational rethink of the practice of molecular or “precision” medicine for the latter.
To evade the halting problem, I will present a broad, universal framework for conservatively approximating the behavior of programs – Abstracting Abstract Machines (AAM) – and discuss the success of applying this approach to detecting and eliminating security issues in software.
I will then provide a programmer’s introduction and overview of precision medicine; argue that computation has becoming the limiting reagent in saving lives; and explain how a computational re-visioning to the practice of medicine is the key to the diagnosis, discovery and treatment of both rare genetic disorders and cancers.
Associate Professor in Computing Science at the University of Utah.
Visiting Associate Professor at the Harvard Medical School.
Strategist in the Executive Office of the President at The White House.