Decomposition Theories for Discrete Dynamical Systems: An Approach to Modularity of Biological Systems (22frg001)


(Iowa State University)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Decomposition Theories for Discrete Dynamical Systems: An Approach to Modularity of Biological Systems" workshop in Banff from May 29, 2022 to June 5, 2022.

One of the major challenges to our understanding of how biological systems from individual cells to ecosystems work is that there don't seem to be ``fundamental laws" of biology, like those that exist for physics, from equations that describe the effect of gravity to rules that govern the interactions of elementary particles with each other. Now, that the life sciences are increasingly becoming data-rich through newly emerging technologies, more biological systems can be modeled mathematically. This opens up the possibility of looking for fundamental design principles of systems in their mathematical representations.

One of those principles is hypothesized to be modular design, meaning that systems are built from basic components, highly preserved across species and across evolutionary time, but combined in all sorts of new ways. By analogy, a Chevy and a Ferrari consist basically of the same type of components, such as alternators and gear boxes, but they are assembled in very different ways to create a great variety of automobiles. This program will investigate a class of dynamic simulation models of the molecular machinery inside mammalian cells, hoping to identify such modular structures that could be used as basic building blocks. If successful, this research could open up a new venue to one of the fundamental laws governing biological systems and their evolution.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).