Mathematics provides a means of analysing and modelling real-world systems. In many situations a few simple equations can explain much of the characteristic behaviour of complicated dynamical systems. The race has always been to keep the theory up to date with new observations. The computer now allows scientists to go beyond the limitations posed by their ability to wield complicated formulae.
In the field of systems biology, scientists rely on an iterative cycle between theory, modelling and experiments. Experimentalists in the biological sciences routinely produce large datasets. Data-driven modelling plays a key role in the generation of empirical hypotheses and this can only be achieved using a combination of statistics, mathematics and computational science. The computer underpins much of this research in its ability to process vast amounts of data.
Ever increasing computing power is changing the way scientists approach modelling. The computer enables scientists to undertake predictive, integrative systems-based modelling that has the potential to provide a better understanding of health and disease.