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Relational Biology and Bionics

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1 Author(s)
Rosen, Robert ; Committee on Mathematical Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.

"Relational Biology" is the name given by N. Rashevsky to an approach to biological systems in which, roughly speaking, one seeks to understand the properties of these systems in terms of a decomposition into functional components, rather than into structural components as is commonly done in (metric) biology. An approach of this type seems a most natural way of comprehending the types of organization manifested by biological systems. A number of preliminary results, typical of those obtained by relational techniques, are cited to indicate the scope and potential fruitfulness of this type of approach. The emphasis on a functional rather than a structural orientation, characteristic of Relational Biology, naturally opens the possibility for the realization of systems of biological significance at the engineering level, rather than exclusively at the molecular or biochemical level, as is the case in actual biological systems. The possibility thus arises that close analogs of real biological systems may be constructed and studied, with a resulting enrichment both of our understanding of biological systems in themselves, and of our techniques for the simulation of important biological processes in engineering applications. Some theoretical problems connected with the realizability of abstract functional organizations, which are connected with the above possibilities, are here briefly outlined and discussed.

Published in:

Military Electronics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:MIL-7 ,  Issue: 2 & 3 )

Date of Publication:

April-July 1963

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