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

Who is looking for primitives to use to describe biological systems, and how long will it take before we see tools that are based on them?

Not long at all. There are people working on it right now. You can just search in the space of all possible simple programs because there just aren’t that many of them. There might be a trillion of them. It’s not hard to search a space of a trillion simple programs. Whereas with a traditional mathematic model there are an infinite number, and that’s much harder to search.

There are going to be quite a lot of cases in biology where there’s a bunch of data that is known and they look very complicated, but by doing the appropriate kinds of searches or whatever, one will find that there’s an extremely simple program that describes what’s going on.

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