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Stochastic simulation of multiscale complex systems with PISKaS: A rule-based approach.

Abstract

Computational simulation is a widely employed methodology to study the dynamic behavior of complex systems. Although common approaches are based either on ordinary differential equations or stochastic differential equations, these techniques make several assumptions which, when it comes to biological processes, could often lead to unrealistic models. Among others, model approaches based on differential equations entangle kinetics and causality, failing when complexity increases, separating knowledge from models, and assuming that the average behavior of the population encompasses any individual deviation. To overcome these limitations, simulations based on the Stochastic Simulation Algorithm (SSA) appear as a suitable approach to model complex biological systems. In this work, we review three different models executed in PISKaS: a rule-based framework to produce multiscale stochastic simulations of complex systems. These models span multiple time and spatial scales ranging from gene regulation up to Game Theory. In the first example, we describe a model of the core regulatory network of gene expression in Escherichia coli highlighting the continuous model improvement capacities of PISKaS. The second example describes a hypothetical outbreak of the Ebola virus occurring in a compartmentalized environment resembling cities and highways. Finally, in the last example, we illustrate a stochastic model for the prisoner's dilemma; a common approach from social sciences describing complex interactions involving trust within human populations. As whole, these models demonstrate the capabilities of PISKaS providing fertile scenarios where to explore the dynamics of complex systems.

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