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Computational modelling, explicit mathematical treatments, and scientific explanation

Computational modelling, explicit mathematical treatments, and scientific explanation
Computational modelling, explicit mathematical treatments, and scientific explanation
A computer simulation model, can produce some interesting and surprising results which one would not expect from initial analysis of the algorithm and data. We question however, whether the description of such a computer simulation modelling procedure (data + algorithm + results) can constitute an explanation as to why the algorithm produces such an effect. Specifically, in the field of theoretical biology, can such a procedure constitute real scientific explanation of biological phenomena? We compare computer simulation modelling to explicit mathematical treatment concluding that there are fundamental differences between the two. Since computer simulations can model systems that mathematical models can not, we look at ways of improving explanatory power of computer simulations through empirical style study and mechanistic decomposition.
520-526
MIT Press
Bryden, J.
94da1bcc-75d8-4664-9ce8-dc8d178f6dce
Noble, J.
440f07ba-dbb8-4d66-b969-36cde4e3b764
Rocha, L. M.
Yaeger, L. S.
Bedau, M. A.
Floreano, D.
Goldstone, R. L.
Vespignani, A.
Bryden, J.
94da1bcc-75d8-4664-9ce8-dc8d178f6dce
Noble, J.
440f07ba-dbb8-4d66-b969-36cde4e3b764
Rocha, L. M.
Yaeger, L. S.
Bedau, M. A.
Floreano, D.
Goldstone, R. L.
Vespignani, A.

Bryden, J. and Noble, J. (2006) Computational modelling, explicit mathematical treatments, and scientific explanation. Rocha, L. M., Yaeger, L. S., Bedau, M. A., Floreano, D., Goldstone, R. L. and Vespignani, A. (eds.) In Artificial Life X: Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Artificial Life. MIT Press. pp. 520-526 .

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

A computer simulation model, can produce some interesting and surprising results which one would not expect from initial analysis of the algorithm and data. We question however, whether the description of such a computer simulation modelling procedure (data + algorithm + results) can constitute an explanation as to why the algorithm produces such an effect. Specifically, in the field of theoretical biology, can such a procedure constitute real scientific explanation of biological phenomena? We compare computer simulation modelling to explicit mathematical treatment concluding that there are fundamental differences between the two. Since computer simulations can model systems that mathematical models can not, we look at ways of improving explanatory power of computer simulations through empirical style study and mechanistic decomposition.

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Published date: 2006
Organisations: Agents, Interactions & Complexity

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Local EPrints ID: 265242
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/265242
PURE UUID: b731cbd4-138e-40dc-b41b-1ccd81af22f5

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Date deposited: 29 Feb 2008 18:26
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 07:27

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Contributors

Author: J. Bryden
Author: J. Noble
Editor: L. M. Rocha
Editor: L. S. Yaeger
Editor: M. A. Bedau
Editor: D. Floreano
Editor: R. L. Goldstone
Editor: A. Vespignani

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