Publication: Structural Determinants of Criticality in Biological Systems

12 May 2015

Is it possible to describe the functioning of the brain and the cell with the same mathematical laws that regulate a simple sandpile? Grain by grain, sand accumulates. Over time, the growth of the pile reaches a critical point where it is so unstable that the next grain could cause it to collapse. It is through this series of avalanches of various sizes that the sandpile - a complex system comprising millions of items - can restore its general stability. Theoretical and empirical studies suggest that biological networks when they operate on the threshold of this criticality improve their functionality in terms of information processing, robustness and evolvability. Read more