I'm a computer scientist and mostly code and have worked with Boolean models of cell level molecule transfer. Now i'm reading about the Biological pathways and modelling chemical reaction networks / Actions / Post translation modification and have no idea about differential equations.

What are the pro's and con's of modelling these situations as differential equation Vs Boolean Vs Rule based approach.


closed as too broad by Remi.b, kmm, David, anongoodnurse, canadianer Sep 20 '17 at 18:42

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you please clarify what you mean by these situations? The expression chemical reaction network is extremely broad and one cannot answer your question is such general terms. Also, it is unclear to me why you would consider by default that differential equations are "not good" to model "chemical reaction networks". The most famous equation in the field of molecular biology is Michaelis-Menten kinetic which result form a series of non-linear ordinary differential equations. I am voting to close as too broad. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Sep 19 '17 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ Most respectfully speaking, if you don't know anything about differential equations, then an explanation of how they're used to model biology, to then perhaps implement into a program, won't do you any good. To study diff' eq's, you first need calculus I & II. However, to try to provide some kind of answer.. various branches of mathematics come with their own mathematical structures, just like various programming languages do. And, depending on what you wish to achieve, you will select a specific language/branch of math, to then utilize the structures & the features that come with them. $\endgroup$ – Charles Sep 19 '17 at 4:15
  • $\begingroup$ For example, in programming, linked lists are really good with inserting & removing elements in a collection. Sometimes this is useful, other times not so much. Well, perhaps with math, you may want to use differential equations in order to take on a continuous perspective when modeling your system, which has it's own benefits, like possibly being able to assume differentiation for an entire function. If you were to take a combinatoric approach though, of which is most often the mathematics of computer science, you may be able to utilize the features of a graph instead. It just depends.. $\endgroup$ – Charles Sep 19 '17 at 4:28
  • $\begingroup$ I will say though that, at least from what I know of, every physical system we study can be expressed using differential equations (and most often is). There are of course many physical systems too complex for us to elegantly express, and so new & advancing research [in this branch of mathematics] is currently exploring difference equations & fractional calculus. That being said, you would highly, highly benefit from becoming at least somewhat knowledgeable of differential equations. Calc I & II, linear algebra (not necessarily needed but will help a lot), then differential equations. $\endgroup$ – Charles Sep 19 '17 at 4:44