From Silico to Vitro: Computational Models of Complex Biological Systems Reveal Real-World Emergent Phenomena

In Vincent C. Muller (ed.), Computing and Philosophy, Selected Papaers from IACAP 2014. Springer. pp. 133-147 (2014)
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Computer simulations constitute a significant scientific tool for promoting scientific understanding of natural phenomena and dynamic processes. Substantial leaps in computational force and software engineering methodologies now allow the design and development of large-scale biological models, which – when combined with advanced graphics tools – may produce realistic biological scenarios, that reveal new scientific explanations and knowledge about real life phenomena. A state-of-the-art simulation system termed Reactive Animation (RA) will serve as a study case to examine the contemporary philosophical debate on the scientific value of simulations, as we demonstrate its ability to form a scientific explanation of natural phenomena and to generate new emergent behaviors, making possible a prediction or hypothesis about the equivalent real-life phenomena.

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