Life, Information and System

Lecturer(s): Julien HUILLERY, Bénédicte LAFAY, Gérard SCORLETTI
Course ⋅ 12 hTC ⋅ 16 hAutonomy ⋅ 4 h


Insights on life, its forms, structure and organization, functioning and changing, are indispensable to the comprehending of the world that we are part of and on which we rely. It is nowadays understood that the behavior of a living organism as a whole cannot be explained by its constituents alone and that many properties of life arise at the system level only. As well, the notion of information is at the heart of the mechanisms of adaptation, reproduction and evolution of living forms. The aim of this course is to introduce the engineer students to the relevance and contribution of system and information theories to the deciphering of life organization and processes.


Life, DNA, RNA, Replication, Transcription, Evolution, Adaptation, Emergence, Genetic information, Information theory, Information coding, Information transmission, Systems, Feedback, Regulation, Networks, Interconnections


I – Life a) Life as a process b) Fundamentals of biological information II – Information a) Information theory and biology b) Interactions and information networks III - Systems a) Dynamic models for living systems b) Feedback

The course is organized in lectures accompanied by tutorial classes.

Learning Outcomes

  • To know some key aspects about the Living
  • To identify the current issues related to the study of living organisms
  • To adopt a systemic point of view when analyzing the behavior of living organisms (inverse engineering)
  • To understand the issues regarding the coding and the transmission of genetic information


Final mark = 30% knowledge + 70% know-how Knowledge = 100% final exam Know-how = 100% continuous assessment