Special "Evolution Cluster Search 2013" Seminar
Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics: Free Energy, Optimal Control,
and Optimal Response
Molecular machines are protein complexes that convert between different forms of energy, and they feature prominently in essentially any major cell biological process. A plausible hypothesis holds that evolution has sculpted these machines to efficiently transmit energy and information in their natural contexts, where energetic fluctuations are large and nonequilibrium driving forces are strong. Toward a systematic picture of efficient, stochastic, nonequilibrium energy and information transmission, I present theoretical developments in three distinct yet related areas of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics: How can we measure how far from equilibrium a driven system is? How do we find efficient methods to push a system rapidly from one state to another? And finally, what are generic properties of systems that efficiently harness the energy and information present in environmental fluctuations?