Biology inspired Computer Science (CS) to some incredible discoveries, e.g., Neural-Nets, and Genetic Algorithms. Recently Molecular Biology had a great impact on CS (1). First came Adleman's DNA computer, then gene switches, flip-flop genes (Gardner, Collins and Cantor). A biological clock applet that consists of four genes, engineered into a bacterium. (Michael Elowitz), and so on. Despite their great appeal, these ideas leave the reader somewhat uncomfortable. Invoking in him a sense of
It all started with Artificial Intelligence (AI) that claimed that people think in 'if-then' structures. Physicians were supposed to diagnose as the 'Internist' program does . Those who felt uncomfortable with classical AI tried to improve it with Heuristics, or Fuzzy Logic. Classical AI was finally buried by Neural Nets. But the attitude of CS to its discoveries prevailed. Claiming that the Neural Net represents the brain. It is how the brain functions. Then came artificial life (AI) which is regarded by some as real life, only in silico.
The disadvantage of this naivety, that it produces unproductive ideas, like DNA computing. The DNA code is regarded as the 'Language of Life' (2). A picturesque expression that was inspired by CS (Turing). In reality the DNA language portrays a simplistic model of a complex mechanism, that may be likened to a typewriter. While letter printing is well understood, all other myriad processes supporting it remain obscure. This 'Language of Life' is only a two dimensional representation (projection) of a multi-dimensional process.
It is not intended here to belittle the DNA model which advanced Molecular Biology to is fascinating discoveries. Only to point out its triviality when regarded as prototype for a massively parallel computer. It reminds once again of the naiveté of classical AI. A reutilization of worn out linear ideas, e.g., Bits, Bytes, Genetic-Switches, or Massive (linear) Parallelism. Why not search Biology for better ideas, like a Massively Parallel Non-Linear Computer? CS would prefer its acronym MPNLC, which is pretty uncomfortable. Why not use WOB instead? WOB stands for Wisdom of the Body (3). WOB is the set of processes in the body.
These definitions serve solely for illustrating some interesting WOB properties.
Despite the fact that all components of the organism change, the adult organism maintains a constant appearance known as, Homeostasis (Greek 'Equilibrium') Maintaining the most favorable steady state conditions. Or the capacity of a system to maintain a constant state (by regulating itself around a fixed set point). The last part of the definition enclosed in brackets, is not a property of the system and can be omitted. The fixed set point is required by us in order to realize that the system maintains Homeostasis. The term was coined in 1939 by Walter Cannon.
Since processes in the WOB actually stream it is more appropriate to apply the term Homeorrhesis (Greek homeo- + rheos ,stream, current) : Maintaining the most favorable steady state conditions conditions. Or the capacity of a system to maintain a constant state (by regulating itself around a changing set point). The last part of the definition enclosed in brackets, is not a property of the system and can be omitted. The changing set point is required by us in order to realize that the system maintains Homeorrhesis. The term was coined in by Conrad Hall Waddington.
Homeorrhesis is a descriptive term . Actually WOB is a strange attractor. More, the organism (WOB) is an attractor in a multi-dimensional chaotic space. It is a solution of the WOB process set. It is the most favorable one. A global optimum (local optima are meaningless and do not exist). When circumstances change, WOB 'finds a new solution' manifested by a new attractor. Each attractor is the most favorable one under the circumstances. WOB is a solution that looks for problems to solve. It is a non-linear solution machine. A non-linear calculator. Its elementary unit, or bit is 'change' (in the sense of the above definition). The process is the byte. Memory is part of the process. Since each process manages its own time, WOB does not have a clock. Time is relative. Even more relative than Einstein’s time!
Poincare plots of the WOB
Following Poincare's example, it is useless to study the WOB in the time domain. WOB behavior can be read off its histo-morphological structure, as described in the section on Streaming Tissues (4) and Proteins (5).
How to design a WOB? First let's examine what is available:
The following report illustrates the above ideas in StarLogoT
p.s. You might want to inspect the first version of the WOB computer model.
S.L. Biological computing
Zajicek G. Wisdom of the Body (WOB)
Zajicek G. Beware of the Gene
Zajicek G. Streaming Tissues
Zajicek G. Streaming Proteins