The robust and adaptable behaviours of cells and tissues depend on the operation of complex regulatory biochemical networks. The elucidation of the structure and functioning of such networks poses many daunting challenges. Recently developed experimental techniques, such as large-scale profiling of gene expression and protein interactions, provide unprecedented amounts of information on the molecular composition of cells. The size (and often variable quality) of the resulting data sets necessitates the use of sophisticated computational schemes for the analysis, mining and integration of the data. In all but the simplest cases, the complexity of the networks is such that it is impossible to provide an intuitive picture of the principles governing their dynamic behaviour without synthesizing the experimental data into a coherent mathematical model of the underlying system.

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