Progress in Motor Control

Volume 629 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 57-82

Control from an Allometric Perspective

  • Bruce J. WestAffiliated withMathematical & Information Science Directorate, U.S. Army Research Office Email author 

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Control of complexity is one of the goals of medicine, in particular, understanding and controlling physiological networks in order to ensure their proper operation. I have attempted to emphasize the difference between homeostatic control and allometric control mechanisms. Homeostatic control is familiar and has as its basis a negative feedback character, which is both local and relatively fast. Allometric control, on the other hand, is a new concept that can take into account long-time memory, correlations that are inverse power law in time, as well as long-range interactions in complex phenomena as manifest by inverse power-law distributions in the system variable. Allometric control introduces the fractal character into otherwise featureless random time series to enhance the robustness of physiological networks by introducing the fractional calculus into the control of the networks.