Gene expression is a central process to any form of life. It involves multiple temporal and functional scales that extend from specific protein-DNA interactions to the coordinated regulation of multiple genes in response to intracellular and extracellular changes. This diversity in scales poses fundamental challenges among traditional approaches to fully understand even the simplest gene expression systems. Recent advances in computational systems biophysics have provided promising avenues to reliably integrate the molecular detail of biophysical process into the system behavior. Here, we review recent advances in the description of gene regulation as a system of biophysical processes that extend from specific protein-DNA interactions to the combinatorial assembly of nucleoprotein complexes. There is now basic mechanistic understanding on how promoters controlled by multiple, local and distal, DNA binding sites for transcription factors can actively control transcriptional noise, cell-to-cell variability, and other properties of gene regulation, including precision and flexibility of the transcriptional responses.