Modeling and Simulation of Living Systems as Systems of Systems
In this chapter, we show that the system theoretic basis of the DEVS formalism matches the systemic point of view adopted in the living sciences field. Two examples, one in animal epidemiology and the other in plant growth modeling, illustrate different characteristics of DEVS and its extensions. We show how these multi-formalistic abilities of DEVS Modeling Environments are very promising to help answer critical issues regarding natural risk management and poverty reduction. We show how DEVS can serve as a universal formalism for living dynamical system modeling and simulation. However, DEVS is an abstract formalism and can be hard to manage when the modeling effort has to focus on the application domain. So the Virtual Laboratory Environment (VLE) provides an environment where DEVS is used at the simulation level but where the modeling level is composed by a set of specialized modeling components, where components are represented by appropriate formalisms. In this way, the modeler can design the model using the most suitable formalism, or coupling several ones, without any knowledge of DEVS. VLE supplies the mappings into DEVS of the main formalisms used in living system modeling and simulation. We show how the tackling of urgent issues, such as the economical and ecological crises, diversity erosion, or poverty, will be based on creative compositions of shared representations among multiple discipline-based experts. These shared models will embed heterogeneous knowledge elements at different scales, i.e., in heterogeneous formalisms. For these reasons, simulation models for living systems, viewed as systems of systems, are best formalized with DEVS and its extensions.
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