Stephen Wolfram Q&A

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Some collected questions and answers by Stephen Wolfram

Questions may be edited for brevity; see links for full questions.

May 9, 2003

From: Interview by John Russell, Bio-ITWorld

How will A New Kind of Science be applied to solving biological problems?

The basic thing is, we know what the genome looks like. Now the question is, “How do we go from that to what cells and organisms actually do?” And that question is really, “What methodology might we imagine [for doing] that?” Many theories in science [have] been based on the idea “let’s make a mathematical equation that describes the question”. But there hasn’t really been a framework for making theories about how an organism should look.

The main thing is finding primitives to use to describe biological systems. That is, you string together a few of these primitives and find out what will happen… you go out in the computational world to see what’s there. It’s analogous to what naturalists did 150 years ago, going out in the biological world and going around darkest Africa or whatever, trying to find all these funny species.

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