I am thinking of doing a computer project: to create a
general-purpose simulation tool for biologists. That is, they'd define
and describe the elements of whatever system they wanted to study
(anything from cells to individuals in a colony) and their
interactions (in a general language), and then have the computer run
the simulation. The user could then tweak various parameters of the
model, gather statistical information about the enteties in the model,
etc. This would be useful for studying complex (emergent etc.)
behaviors as they relate to various parameters of biological systems,
without having to run actual experiments, which may be expensive or
immpossible. What do people think? Would biologists use such a thing?
What suggestions do people have, in terms of features? What areas of
biology are suited for this? That is, what problems can be modelled by
interactions of descrete units, which are difficult to study in the
laboratory? Please send any info/suggestions to
mlevin at fote.cs.tufts.edu.