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A problem solving environment for modelling stony coral morphogenesis

Roeland Merks, Alfons Hoekstra, Jaap Kaandorp, and Peter Sloot. A problem solving environment for modelling stony coral morphogenesis. In Peter M.A. Sloot, David Abramson, Alexander V. Bogdanov, Jack J. Dongarra, Albert Y. Zomaya, and Yuriy E. Gorbachev, editors, Computational Science - ICCS 2003, volume 2657 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 639-648, Melbourne, Australia and St. Petersburg, Russia, 2003.

Apart from experimental and theoretical approaches, computer simulation is an important tool in testing hypotheses about stony coral growth. However, the construction and use of such simulation tools needs extensive computational skills and knowledge that is not available to most research biologists. Problems solvings environments (PSEs) aim to provide a framework that hides implementation details and allows the user to formulate and analyse a problem in the language of the subject area. We have developed a prototypical PSE to study the morphogenesis of corals using a multi-model approach. In this paper we describe the design and implementation of this PSE, in which simulations of the coral's shape and its environment have been combined. We will discuss the relevance of our results for the future development of PSEs for studying biological growth and morphogenesis.