An examination of some metaphorical contexts for biologically motivated computing

Biologically motivated computing seeks to transfer ideas from the biosciences to computer science. In seeking to make transfers it is helpful to be able to appreciate the metaphors which people use. This is because metaphors provide the context through which analogies and similes are made and by which many scientific models are constructed. As such, it is important for any rapidly evolving domain of knowledge to have developments accounted for in these terms. This paper seeks to provide one overview of the process of modelling and shows how it can be used to account for a variety of biologically motivated computational models. Certain key ideas are identified in the subsequent analysis of biological sources, notably, systemic metaphors. Three important aspects of biological thinking are then considered in the light of computer science applications: biological organization, the cell, and models of evolution. The analysis throughout the paper is descriptive rather than formalized so that a large variety of potential applications may be considered.
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