University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Theoretical computer science seminar > The Continuous π-Calculus: A Process Algebra for Biochemical Modelling

The Continuous π-Calculus: A Process Algebra for Biochemical Modelling

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Systems biology is the study of dynamic processes within living organisms, in particular addressing the behaviour that emerges from interactions between components. One potential contribution to this from theoretical computer science lies in the range of existing languages and techniques for working with concurrent systems. Several groups are pursuing this, with biological applications for various process algebras.

In this talk I present joint work with Marek Kwiatkowski on a continuous pi-calculus, intended to model protein-protein intracellular reactions and in particular issues around the evolution of biochemical pathways. The calculus is succinct and expressive, supporting the modular description of biochemical systems as networks of interacting processes. Process behaviour is given by a compositional semantics in ordinary differential equations, already widely used for modelling biological systems and amenable to standard numerical analysis. This gives us a continuous space of processes, within which we can explore the effect of variation in the original system, looking at questions of robustness, neutrality and evolvability. To illustrate this, I shall describe a model of a circadian clock in the blue-green algae Synechococcus Elongatus; this is a simple oscillatory pathway whose detailed mechanism is the subject of current research.

Marek Kwiatkowski and Ian Stark. The Continuous pi-Calculus: a Process Algebra for Biochemical Modelling. LNCS 5307 :103-122.

This talk is part of the Theoretical computer science seminar series.

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