16 September 2010

Is it Real, Or is it an Elaborate Computer Simulation?

Tim Hunt, Nobel Prize winner in biology, confronts two students in "systems biology" about the difference between "computer simulated biology" and real experimental biology in this video.

There is a very real gap between hands-on experimentalists and those who make their lives in the world of computer models and simulations. This is as true in biology as it is in climate, or in cognitive science. It is too easy for a computer modeler to believe that he has demonstrated something about the real world, when all he has done is generate a hypothetical output which obeys delineated constraints. As complex as the model may be, the real world is far more so. And the complexity of the model does not necessarily accurately reflect real world conditions.

The hope for the future of science lies with those who are cross-trained in both modeling and experimentation. They may be the only ones who will understand how to illuminate the way forward through an increasingly complex jungle of fractal realities.

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Blogger Loren said...

I suppose you got my e-mail about modeling other biology with the same tech that's trying to be used for brain sims?

You do bring up a good point--sims that don't emulate reality are useless in reality.

Thursday, 16 September, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks for the email, Loren. It is a fascinating topic.

Friday, 17 September, 2010  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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