Editorial. Special Issue on Integral Biomathics: Can Biology Create a Profoundly New Mathematics and Computation?

J. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 113 (1):1-4 (2013)
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The idea behind this special theme journal issue was to continue the work we have started with the INBIOSA initiative (www.inbiosa.eu) and our small inter-disciplinary scientific community. The result of this EU funded project was a white paper (Simeonov et al., 2012a) defining a new direction for future research in theoretical biology we called Integral Biomathics and a volume (Simeonov et al., 2012b) with contributions from two workshops and our first international conference in this field in 2011. The initial impulse for this effort was given a year earlier by a publication of one of the guest editors of this issue (Simeonov, 2010) in this journal. This time we wish to provide a broader forum and more space to elaborate in detail some of the most interesting concepts we have encountered in our discussions, as well as to invite some new contributions of particular interest in the field. Another goal we had in mind was to collect and review as many provocative perspectives as possible on the same key topic we are interested before making a decision to follow a more focused notion that would lead to a funded research program. Therefore we welcomed the generous suggestion of Professor Denis Noble, FRS, who is also editor of this journal to prepare a special theme issue entitled: “Can biology create a profoundly new mathematics and computation?” It has taken a while to invite and collect the contributions. Most of them had a couple of revision cycles and adjustments after having been thoroughly discussed with colleagues, incl. the editors of this issue. We think that the result we have obtained at the end is a satisfactory one, since we succeeded to integrate a diversity of original, but sometimes controversial and mutually excluding concepts organized within chapters of a self-contained volume. The task of compiling all this was not easy at all. Despite our efforts to position the articles of different authors and themes in a way allowing their easy comprehension and relation to each other within the individual chapters, some of them still require a sort of introduction to dissolve possible ambiguities. This is what we are going to do in the following few paragraphs with the hope that the reader (and some of the authors) would excuse our failures.

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