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Title: Vivarium: an interface and engine for integrative multiscale modeling in computational biology
Abstract Motivation This article introduces Vivarium—software born of the idea that it should be as easy as possible for computational biologists to define any imaginable mechanistic model, combine it with existing models and execute them together as an integrated multiscale model. Integrative multiscale modeling confronts the complexity of biology by combining heterogeneous datasets and diverse modeling strategies into unified representations. These integrated models are then run to simulate how the hypothesized mechanisms operate as a whole. But building such models has been a labor-intensive process that requires many contributors, and they are still primarily developed on a case-by-case basis with each project starting anew. New software tools that streamline the integrative modeling effort and facilitate collaboration are therefore essential for future computational biologists. Results Vivarium is a software tool for building integrative multiscale models. It provides an interface that makes individual models into modules that can be wired together in large composite models, parallelized across multiple CPUs and run with Vivarium’s discrete-event simulation engine. Vivarium’s utility is demonstrated by building composite models that combine several modeling frameworks: agent-based models, ordinary differential equations, stochastic reaction systems, constraint-based models, solid-body physics and spatial diffusion. This demonstrates just the beginning of what is more » possible—Vivarium will be able to support future efforts that integrate many more types of models and at many more biological scales. Availability and implementation The specific models, simulation pipelines and notebooks developed for this article are all available at the vivarium-notebooks repository: Vivarium-core is available at, and has been released on Python Package Index. The Vivarium Collective ( is a repository of freely available Vivarium processes and composites, including the processes used in Section 3. Supplementary Materials provide with an extensive methodology section, with several code listings that demonstrate the basic interfaces. Supplementary information Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. « less
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Valencia, Alfonso
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1972 to 1979
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National Science Foundation
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