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PLoS Comput Biol. 2008 May 30;4(5):e1000078. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000078.

Why are computational neuroscience and systems biology so separate?

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Computational Neuroscience Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan.


Despite similar computational approaches, there is surprisingly little interaction between the computational neuroscience and the systems biology research communities. In this review I reconstruct the history of the two disciplines and show that this may explain why they grew up apart. The separation is a pity, as both fields can learn quite a bit from each other. Several examples are given, covering sociological, software technical, and methodological aspects. Systems biology is a better organized community which is very effective at sharing resources, while computational neuroscience has more experience in multiscale modeling and the analysis of information processing by biological systems. Finally, I speculate about how the relationship between the two fields may evolve in the near future.

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