Information plays a critical role in complex biological systems. Complex systems like immune systems and
ant colonies co-ordinate heterogeneous components in a decentralized fashion. How do these distributed
decentralized systems function? One key component is how these complex systems efficiently process
information. These complex systems have an architecture for integrating and processing information coming
in from various sources and points to the value of information in the functioning of different complex
biological systems. This paper is a teaching resource that explains the role of information processing in
questions around the origin of life and suggests how computational simulations may yield insights into
questions related to the origin of life.
A computational model of the origin of life would unify thermodynamics with information processing and
we would gain an appreciation of why proteins and nucleotides evolved as the substrate of computation
and information processing in living systems that we see on Earth. Answers to questions like these may
give us insights into non-carbon based forms of life that we could search for outside Earth.
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