Integral Biomathics (iBioMath) is based on a profoundly new understanding of the role of biology in natural and engineering sciences. Our driving argument is that living systems have fundamentally different notions of self-organization from those in engineering sciences today. Therefore, iBioMath prepares a new research program to investigate the biological imperatives of mathematics and computation in a profoundly new way. This will be based on understanding the premises for and the fundamental characteristics of emergence, organization, development, and evolution in biology.
Our goal is to develop a set of novel mathematical formalisms capable of addressing the multiple facets of an integral model and a general theory for biocomputation within an adequate engineering frame of relevance. This effort is a continuation of the 2011 INBIOSA project (EU FP7 grant number 269961). The journey has just begun.
Our ambition is to unify classical mathematical biology with biomathics or biological mathematics (the study of mathematics as it occurs in biological systems) with system biology on the way to genuine biological system engineering. Our approach is a systemic one. It is about asking what is computing and cognition, and about understanding where the biological imperatives for them come from and lead to, rather than being about replicating some isolated aspects of them. In this regard, our goal differs from most present day efforts of biomimetics in automata and computation design such as neuromorphic engineering to develop autonomic systems by emulating a limited set of “organic” features using traditional mathematical methods and computational models.
We anticipate that the focus of this research will meet the interests of and (eventually) find broad acceptance in the scientific community. The project is expected to deliver answers to such questions as: (i) what is computation? – in biological context; (ii) how useful is a computation? – for living systems, where “usefulness” is studied from the viewpoint of the entity performing the computation; (iii) to what extent can a computation be carried out? – in an organism or an ecosystem, with the available resources (power, time, number of computing elements, etc.).