Exploring the concept of interaction computing through the discrete algebraic analysis of the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction


Interaction computing (IC) aims to map the properties of integrable low-dimensional non-linear dynamical systems to the discrete domain of finite-state automata in an attempt to reproduce in software the self-organizing and dynamically stable properties of sub-cellular biochemical systems. As the work reported in this paper is still at the early stages of theory development it focuses on the analysis of a particularly simple chemical oscillator, the Belousov–Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction. After retracing the rationale for IC developed over the past several years from the physical, biological, mathematical, and computer science points of view, the paper presents an elementary discussion of the Krohn–Rhodes decomposition of finite-state automata, including the holonomy decomposition of a simple automaton, and of its interpretation as an abstract positional number system. The method is then applied to the analysis of the algebraic properties of discrete finite-state automata derived from a simplified Petri net model of the BZ reaction. In the simplest possible and symmetrical case the corresponding automaton is, not surprisingly, found to contain exclusively cyclic groups. In a second, asymmetrical case, the decomposition is much more complex and includes five different simple non-abelian groups whose potential relevance arises from their ability to encode functionally complete algebras. The possible computational relevance of these findings is discussed and possible conclusions are drawn.

Biosystems, Volume 112, Issue 2, Pages 145–162