Orly (Kramash) Stettiner
Head of Science & Technology Department at CET (Center for Educational Technology, Matach). Also a Photographer and Geneologist, editor and manager of the Organization of Siedlcers in Israel website (http://www.siedlce.org.il).
The Code of Life: Computer Simulations of Emergent Phenomena in Complex Biological Systems
My dissertation focused on the scientific value of dynamic computer simulations in two principal manners: Their ability to form a scientific explanation of biological phenomena and their ability to generate new emergent phenomena (structure or behavior), making possible a prediction or hypothesis about the equivalent real phenomena. The discussion was guided by a thorough inspection of three state-of-the-art highly complex computer simulations that demonstrate emergence of novel treats, features or behaviors, not specifically designed or programmed within the computerized models. It seems that simulations have a "life" of their own, characterized by complexity, creativity and dynamic interactive computational power, which can exceed the standard Turing computation. These features, I showed, along with various considerations in the construction process of the simulation and its user-interface, allow the formation of new features and unexpected behaviors, which may serve as speculations in the scientific sense and as a basis for further real-life in-vivo research. The verification and validation processes integrated into the simulations, the usefulness and contribution of the models in scientific discourse and the cumulative reliability of the applied techniques, ultimately provide simulations their credibility and scientific significance.