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Thread: A Computer Model of Abiogenesis

  1. #1 A Computer Model of Abiogenesis 
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    Dec 2009
    Hi guys,

    I was just wondering if this has been done already. I mean, the properties and behaviours of all the elements (oxygen, hydrogen, etc.) are known to science. The reactions among elements are also known. Life, to the most basic explanation is a big bowl of chemical reactions.
    Is it that difficult to translate all these properties and behaviours into computer algorithms? Personally, I don't think so. If sound and video can be digitally modeled, why shouldn't we be able to do the same with the basic elements and then let them react virtually?
    Just imagine replicating the Miller-Urey experiment, but on a computer! The main advantage being that, since this is a computer model, we can speed up "time" and we might be able to witness abiogenesis with our own eyes without having to wait billions of years.
    Is this idea too crazy?
    I can think of Conway's Game of Life. That's a very interesting project, right there, but it's not quite what I'm talking about.
    What are the main issues that have prevented science to create a comprehensive computer model for abiogenesis?

    Cheers! :-D

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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Individually, the components of the system are understood but the interactions between them are countless and chaotic. So I suspect size of the system and complexity of the interactions would be a serious hurdle. You'd essentially be trying to model the physics and chemistry of the surface of the entire Earth over a time period of perhaps 500 million to 1 billion years.

    Right now we struggle to model the atmosphere alone sufficiently to forecast the weather tomorrow.

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