THEORETICAL BIOLOGY

Finding ways to reach the right endpoint

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Science  17 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6207, pp. 311-312
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6207.311-h

Most complex systems have an element of randomness: Even if we can describe them exactly at one point in time, we don't know for certain where they will be next. Scientists use stochastic equations to compute the many possible trajectories these systems can take. If we constrain both end points of such trajectories, the usual approach of calculating all trajectories and rejecting those that do not end at the desired final point can be very inefficient. Zhao et al. introduced an approach in which they modified the probabilities for moving from one state to the next, so that the system was guaranteed to reach the set final state. The authors used examples from population genetics to illustrate the power of the method.

J. Theor. Biol. 363, 419 (2014).

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