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In the stochastic formulation of chemical kinetics, the differential equation that describes the time evolution of the lower-order statistical moments for the number of molecules of the different species involved, is generally not closed, in the sense that the right-hand side of this equation depends on higher-order moments. Recent work has proposed a moment closure technique based on derivative-matching, which closes the moment equations by approximating higher-order moments as nonlinear functions of lower-order moments. We here provide a mathematical proof of this moment closure technique, and highlight its performance through comparisons with alternative methods. These comparisons reveal that this moment closure technique based on derivative-matching provides more accurate estimates of the moment dynamics, especially when the population size is small. Finally, we show that the accuracy of the proposed moment closure scheme can be arbitrarily increased by incurring additional computational effort.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2011