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Pages 745-749
First published 2 September 2013

Formal Model of Living Systems

Margareta Segerståhl


Here, a conceptual modeling formalism is proposed for the description and study of living and life-like systems. It is based on the real life and evolution of biological organisms and ultimately the system framework is determined by two functions, reproduction and survival—the two main fitness components of natural life. In the simplest form the model is a formal description of a discrete reproduction-survival state-transition system. The initial structure of the model can evolve to become more complex and it holds inherent potential for producing numerous variations of the basic theme. It is proposed, that this modeling formalism provides abstract system basis and immediately applicable conceptual tools for holistic study of living organisms on multiple levels of organization, and thereby for the understanding life and organization of complex living systems from a common systems point of view. The modeling principle is very generic and may therefore be applied directly also to the study of engineered and artificial systems.