Repository: Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin, Math Department

Estimating computational limits on theoretical descriptions of biological cells

Netz, Roland R. and Eaton, William A. (2021) Estimating computational limits on theoretical descriptions of biological cells. PNAS, 118 . pp. 1-3. ISSN 1091-6490 (online)

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There has been much success recently in theoretically simulating parts of complex biological systems on the molecular level, with the goal of first-principles modeling of whole cells. However, there is the question of whether such simulations can be performed because of the enormous complexity of cells. We establish approximate equations to estimate computation times required to simulate highly simplified models of cells by either molecular dynamics calculations or by solving molecular kinetic equations. Our equations place limits on the complexity of cells that can be theoretically understood with these two methods and provide a first step in developing what can be considered biological uncertainty relations for molecular models of cells. While a molecular kinetics description of the genetically simplest bacterial cell may indeed soon be possible, neither theoretical description for a multicellular system, such as the human brain, will be possible for many decades and may never be possible even with quantum computing.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Mathematical and Computer Sciences > Mathematics > Applied Mathematics
Divisions:Department of Mathematics and Computer Science > Institute of Mathematics
ID Code:2781
Deposited By: Monika Drueck
Deposited On:23 Feb 2022 14:48
Last Modified:07 Mar 2022 11:56

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