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Modelling living systems - From foundational problems to applications

The aim of this workshop is to discuss the challenges by modeling biological systems. In particular, challenges posed by causal closure and related theoretical concepts in the context of applied life science research. We will discuss how different modelling approaches and architectures may deal with these challenges. Participants are encouraged to present their own models for discussion. It will also be possible for participants to submit material and questions to the organizers before the workshop so that the discussion can be well prepared.

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Maur som bærer blad

Organisms are complex systems, different from simple mechanical systems in many ways. They are thermodynamically open, self-maintained and capable of reproducing, have complex shapes, and exhibit processes and structures that span a large range of scales both in size and time. However, the complexity is not only due to a large number of components, or due to nonlinear interactions between components. More importantly, living systems, unlike engineered systems, may be "causally closed”.

There are strong theoretical arguments that causal closure is a fundamental obstacle to computational modelling of living systems. In the context of applied research, causal closure could be a major reason for the failure to translate model based insights into the application domain.

The aim of this workshop is to discuss the challenges by modeling biological systems. In particular, challenges posed by causal closure and related theoretical concepts in the context of applied life science research. We will discuss how different modelling approaches and architectures may deal with these challenges. Participants are encouraged to present their own models for discussion. It will also be possible for participants to submit material and questions to the organizers before the workshop so that the discussion can be well prepared.

Programme (subject to modifications)

Thursday 7. September

1200-1245 Introduction over light lunch

1300-1430 Overview of modelling approaches and architectures

1430-1700 Challenges of modelling; autopoiesis, closed casual entailment and impredicative loops

Friday 8. September

0900-1030 Purpose and quality criteria for models. Explanatory power, prediction and engineering

1100-1200 Analysing participants’ models – I

1200-1245 Lunch

1300-1430 Analysing participants’ models – II

1430-1500 Summary and conclusion

 

Questions and input can be sent to Rune Kleppe (rune.kleppe@uib.no) or Roger Strand (roger.strand@uib.no)