Journal Article

Controlled bio-inspired self-organised criticality


Complex biological systems are considered to be controlled using feedback mechanisms. Reduced systems modelling has been effective to describe these mechanisms, but this approach does not sufficiently encompass the required complexity that is needed to understand how localised control in a biological system can provide global stable states. Self-Organised Criticality (SOC) is a characteristic property of locally interacting physical systems, which readily emerges from changes to its dynamic state due to small nonlinear perturbations. These small changes in the local states, or in local interactions, can greatly affect the total system state of critical systems. It has long been conjectured that SOC is cardinal to biological systems, that show similar critical dynamics, and also may exhibit near power-law relations. Rate Control of Chaos (RCC) provides a suitable robust mechanism to generate SOC systems, which operates at the edge of chaos. The bio-inspired RCC method requires only local instantaneous knowledge of some of the variables of the system, and is capable of adapting to local perturbations. Importantly, connected RCC controlled oscillators can maintain global multi-stable states, and domains where power-law relations may emerge. The network of oscillators deterministically stabilises into different orbits for different perturbations, and the relation between the perturbation and amplitude can show exponential and power-law correlations. This can be considered to be representative of a basic mechanism of protein production and control, that underlies complex processes such as homeostasis. Providing feedback from the global state, the total system dynamic behaviour can be boosted or reduced. Controlled SOC can provide much greater understanding of biological control mechanisms, that are based on distributed local producers, with remote consumers of biological resources, and globally defined control.

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V. olde Scheper, Tjeerd

Oxford Brookes departments

School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics


Year of publication: 2022
Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-01-25

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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