Meet the Molecular Programmer

Dave Doty

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Show Notes

In our latest Meet The Molecular Programmer, our guest was David Doty. We dove right in to the way he splits his research time, which has been between software development, theory, and sometimes experiments! He talks about how his experience doing his first experiment made him realise the need for good software, as good software enables good experiments.

We then moved on to discussing what “nice” theory is. Doty explains how typically people seek to publish the most elegant, and often complicated theory in conferences and journals, but that this rarely translates to experimentation which can be done in the lab. When asked for an example of a time that he saw elegant theory married to beautiful experiment, he gave our own host’s (Anastasia) most recent paper on crisscross assembly!

Finally we moved on to more personal aspects of Doty’s academic life, talking about how he moved into the field, his experience switching topics twice during his PhD, and his rather unique marriage proposal! You’ll have to give the podcast a listen to find out how exactly he did it...

Dave’s wedding slides


David Doty is an associate professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Davis. He is broadly interested in problems at the intersection of physics, chemistry, biology, and computation. This does not mean the traditional “computation in service of natural science” (e.g., bioinformatics, computational chemistry, or molecular dynamics simulation). 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… natural science in service of computation. He seeks to understand the fundamental logical and physical limits to computation by such means.