Tutorial: Using formal grammars in computational biology

Biologists don’t generally think about life in terms of abstractions involving ones and zeros, but if they wish to model biological processes on a computer, there is a necessity to represent the concepts of biology in a form that a computer can recognize, but also in an idiom that is appropriate for biology and familiar enough to the biologist that it doesn’t feel like having to work in some kind of alien machine language.

If we wish to “do” biology on computers, we face the same kind of challenges that the designers of programming languages have had to grapple with for decades. In this new tutorial, posted over at The Digital Biologist, we look “under the hood” in more detail, and examine how formal grammars can be designed and used as vehicles to represent biological systems computationally.

Gordon Webster