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Talk Abstract
Feedbacks Toward Multiple Conflicting Partial Goals
in Immunological and Other Distributed Autonomous Systems

Lee Segel
Weizmann Institute of Science

Arguments are given for the tenet that although the immune system has no long term goals, it does have short term partial goals - which are often contradictory. Simple mathematical models illustrate how feedbacks can (i) harmonize conflicting partial goals, (ii) improve the performance of a given type of effector cell, (iii) cause the preferential amplification of more potent effectors. In particular, it is shown that spatial organization can allow non-specific chemical signals to select specific immune elements that contribute to system goals. Comparison is made with other autonomous decentralized systems.

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1998-1999 Mathematics in Biology