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Modeling dynamic biological systems. With a foreword by Simon A. Levin. Incl. 1 CD-ROM. (English) Zbl 0887.92001
New York, NY: Springer. xvi, 399 p. (1997).
In the foreword of this book, Simon Levin says that research on modeling of biological systems has been mostly left for mathematicians, at times with little contact with biological facts. He recognizes the need for the “democratization of modeling” because it is important and it is fun. The authors’ approach to such “democratization” is to teach model construction and modification through experiences and simulations (using the software STELLA and MADONNA). This, though too limiting, is certainly also important and, in this sense, the book may be a good complement to a more comprehensive course on dynamic systems in biology.
A CD-ROM containing the software STELLA (for MacIntosh and Windows) is included. The software MADONNA (recommended for more sophisticated studies) can be obtained from an internet address (a reduced version of it is available free of charge). STELLA provides a graphical way of describing a dynamical model.
This book covers a wide range of biomathematical topics, one in each chapter, which typical organization is: model of the biological system (occasionally obscurely defined), discretization of the equations (when required) to apply STELLA, construction of the STELLA program, output of the program, conclusions it provides about the system, modifications of the model and recommended further computer experiments. The 43 chapters are organised into 8 parts (Introduction, Physical and Biochemical Models, Genetic Models, Models of Organisms, Simple Population Models, Multiple Population Models, Catastrophes and Self-Organization, Conclusion). There is an Appendix on the software.

MSC:
92B05 General biology and biomathematics
92-01 Introductory exposition (textbooks, tutorial papers, etc.) pertaining to biology
94-04 Software, source code, etc. for problems pertaining to information and communication theory
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