The Virtual Cell is a unique computational environment for modeling and simulation of cell biology. It has been specifically designed to be a tool for a wide range of scientists, from experimental cell biologists to theoretical biophysicists. The creation of biological or mathematical models can range from the simple, to evaluate hypotheses or to interpret experimental data, to complex multi-layered models used to probe the predicted behavior of complex, highly non-linear systems. Such models can be based on both experimental data and purely theoretical assumptions.
More information about the Virtual Cell can be found here.
The Virtual Cell is deployed as a distributed application that is used over the Internet. Users can build complex models with a web-based Java interface to specify compartmental topology and geometry, molecular characteristics, and relevant interaction parameters. The Virtual Cell automatically converts the biological description into a corresponding mathematical system of ordinary and/or partial differential equations. Distinct biological and mathematical frameworks are encompassed within a single graphical interface. The mathematic-savy user may directly specify the complete mathematical description of the model, bypassing the schematic interface. The Virtual Cell will then solve the equations by applying numerical solvers and generate appropriate software code to perform and analyze simulations. Results can be displayed and analyzed on-line or downloaded to the user’s computer in a variety of formats. It is freely accessible to all members of the scientific community.