Science and Creativity from Studio 360: the art of innovation. A sculpture unlocks a secret of cell structure, a tornado forms in a can, and a child's toy gets sent into orbit. Exploring science as a creative act since 2005. Produced by PRI and WNYC, and supported in part by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Computer viruses have evolved from an annoyance to a national security threat. Recently the Department of Homeland Security told Americans to disable Java on our home computers (a thing that few of us knew how to do) because of flaws that left it vulnerable to viruses. And by most accounts, the US has used viral programs like Stuxnet and Flame in cyberwar against Iran.
Why do we call these programs viruses? Maneesh Agrawala is a computer scientist, MacArthur “genius” fellow, and an advisor to Studio 360’s Science & Creativity series. “DNA is in some sense a program that describes how to manufacture proteins,” he explains; a viruses consists of little other than DNA, programmed to hijack the host’s cellular machinery to replicate itself. “A computer virus is a computer program that describes a sequence of operations that need to be performed.” Both biological and computer viruses are defined by their ability to self-replicate.…read more