OpenWorm, the first complete simulation of an entire organism, is coming to your web browser
The most exciting thing happening today in digital biology has got to be the OpenWorm project. Its stated goal is nothing less than to simulate the entire c. elegans organism down to level of each individual cell. Like other crowdsourced initiatives such as the EyeWire brain mapping project, anyone can get involved, and looking at what they have accomplished so far, perhaps everyone should.
The OpenWorm Kickstarter has already raised over $30,000 of its $120,000 goal. What they aim to do is bring their incredibly detailed simulations of the worm to your web browser. As we have detailed before, reducing a kilo-cell dynamic organism interacting with its environment to a stream of 1s and 0s that can be refleshed on the screen in front of you is no easy task. A full third of the cells of this creature are neurons, or neuron-like multitaskers, which must accomplish the full life-suite of functions of the worm using the remaining 600 cells. In CAD terms, you might call these simulations multiphysics or multibio, as they model not only the mechanical form, but also the electrical, fluid mechanics, and other systems that are at play in a complex organism.
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