Chaos, learning algorithms, predictive modeling of complex time series, statistical analysis of evolution, artificial life, and complex adaptive systems
Norman Packard has worked in the areas of chaos, learning algorithms, predictive modeling of complex time series, statistical analysis of evolution, artificial life, and complex adaptive systems. Packard holds a B.A. from Reed College (1976) and Ph.D. in Physics from University of California at Santa Cruz (1983). After post-docs at IHES (Bures-sur-Yvette) and IAS (Princeton), he joined the physics department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1987, where he became an associate professor before leaving to become a co-founder of Prediction Company in 1991. There he served as CEO from 1997 to 2003, then as chairman of the board of directors until 2005, when the company was bought by UBS. Packard is currently working in a new scientific and business direction based on development of evolutionary chemistry in programmable microfluidic technology. Long-range applications of this technology include the fabrication artificial cells from non-living material, and their programming for useful functionality. In 2004, Packard was co-founder of ProtoLife S.r.l., an Italian company based in Venice, Italy, which applies machine learning techniques to the design of experiments (DoE) for high throughput experiments in biotechnology. He currently works at the US branch of the company (ProtoLife Inc.) in San Francisco, California. From 2004-2008, Packard was involved in PACE (Programmable Artificial Cell Evolution), developing and applying the techniques of ProtoLife. As part of the PACE project, Packard participated in the founding of ECLT (the European Center for Living Technology), where he has served as director, and as a member of the Center's Science Board. Packard has had a long-standing involvement with the Santa Fe Institute, currently serving on its external faculty.
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