We’ve moved to a new blog server

Still using WordPress software but hosted by the Computing Services department at the University of Oxford (where we work):

http://blogs.oucs.ox.ac.uk/modelling4all/

This is the last post by modelling4all project team here – please visit the new blog server to see what we’ve been up to lately.

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Micro-behaviours and BioBricks — cross discipline lessons about modularity?

As I read the following about efforts at MIT and Stanford to develop BioBricks, a modular way to develop synthetic DNA I saw a close similarity with the micro-behaviours of the Modelling4All Project.

What if this engineering approach is wrong? You can’t just break cells down into modular parts and then reassemble them, because part of what makes them function are complex interactions between parts that we don’t yet understand. What if we don’t know enough about DNA to program it as exactly as we would a computer? What if most researchers need specific parts nobody else wants, or ones more complicated than simple BioBrick parts? And ultimately, what should we try to build?

from http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2009/julaug/features/biology.html

These questions can be translated to our approach to building computer models out of modular pieces.  How important are interactions between parts? How often do modelling efforts require custom micro-behaviours?  In the current library micro-behaviours are “simple” but will many models need more complicated ones as well? What should we build?

Food for thought…

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Connect with Modelling4All

You can now connect with Modelling4All by:

Following @modelling4all on Twitter

Becoming a fan of our Facebook Page

Posting to our Discussion Board

Hope to see you there!

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New enhancements to the Modelling4All software

Today we updated the Modelling4All software at http://modelling4all.nsms.ox.ac.uk/Model/

The most important new feature is that micro-behaviour pages can have editable lists of micro-behaviours on them. This makes it much easier for non-programmers to customise existing micro-behaviours. The default library of micro-behaviours (Full-library in the Resources area) has been updated to take advantage of this. Documentation of how to author such micro-behaviours is at http://modelling4all.wikidot.com/modelling4all-programming-guide

Many small enhancements (including the ability to import a micro-behaviour by providing its URL) were also added. Many bugs were fixed, in particular, a problem where in some versions of FireFox the entire application became hidden has been fixed. Full details at http://code.google.com/p/modelling4all/source/list

Please discuss any issues at http://groups.google.com/group/modelling4all and report any bugs at http://code.google.com/p/modelling4all/issues/list

Explore, create, share, and enjoy!

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Oxford University seminar on Modelling4All Project: 26 May

We’ll be giving a talk about the project at the Oxford e-Science Centre at 2pm on 26 May. Details at http://www.oerc.ox.ac.uk/events/The-Modelling4All-Project-A-web-based-modelling.0

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New Modelling4All Behaviour Composer release

modelling4all.org has a new version of our web-based modelling software service. The main enhancements are:

  1. Micro-behaviours can include editable text areas in code to simplify setting parameters.
  2. Micro-behavioiurs with editable text areas can be copied simplifying the setting of different parameters for different agents.
  3. Split screen option added so one can browse and build a model without flipping between the two work areas.
  4. Many features previously provided by tabs are now accessed by the equivalent of a menu bar to improve usability.
  5. The tabbed interface now removes tabs when full to avoid clutter and horizontal scrolling.

Enjoy.

And please send send bug reports and suggestions at http://code.google.com/p/modelling4all/

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