Joint Colloquium Distinguished Lecture Series

Computing Matters: Applying Computer Science to the Physical World

jonathan bachrach

Wednesday, November 2, 2011
306 Soda Hall (HP Auditorium)
4:00 - 5:00 pm

Jonathan Bachrach
Visiting Research Engineer EECS UC Berkeley and Principal and Co-founder of Other Lab

Downloadable pdf


Arguably the vast majority of computing is already happening in places other than in our appliances, cars, phones, data centers, or desktops. It is happening faithfully and methodically within places near and dear to our heart: our physical and biological worlds. To make computing maximally relevant and impactful, we need to harness this computing by not only programming these existing systems but also by embedding computing matter within our world and bodies. By first learning from existing natural computing systems, then expanding the boundaries of computer science to encompass matter that computes, we can open up whole new application areas with the potential for significant societal impact. In this talk, I will present our recent work in bottom-up fabrication, digital materials, swarm robotics, and bioengineering, introducing novel programming languages, compilation techniques, and smart runtimes appropriate for physical media.


Jonathan Bachrach is a researcher at UC Berkeley and principal at Other Lab where he researches spatial, parallel and unconventional programming languages, computing and robotics. Before UC Berkeley and Other Lab, he was a research scientist at MIT for 8 years, held postdocs at Stanford and ICSI, and was a researcher at IRCAM in Paris, developing new musical platforms. He studied cognitive science, computer science, and visual arts, receiving a BS degree from the University of California at San Diego and MS and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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