Department of Systems & Computational Biology

Overview

In defining Biology’s relation to other Natural Sciences, Warren Weaver, a pioneer of what we today would call Systems Biology, aptly characterized pre-1900 classical physics as largely concerned with two-variable problems of organized simplicity, post-1900 statistical physics as two-billion-variable problems of disorganized complexity, and Biology as wrestling with problems in the untouched great middle region spanning from two to an astronomical number of variables. The scope in Biology is therefore a set of problems that deal simultaneously with a sizable number of factors which are interrelated into an organic whole—i.e., problems of organized complexity.

 

“These new problems, and the future of the world depends on many of them, requires science to make a third great advance, an advance that must be even greater than the nineteenth century conquest of problems of organized simplicity or the twentieth century victory over problems of disorganized complexity. Science must, over the next 50 years, learn to deal with these problems of organized complexity.” 

Warren Weaver (1948)

 
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