Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"The Worm's Secret," Interface: a friendly science magazine, Weizmann Institute of Science, Spring/Summer 2002.

David Harel of Weizmann Institute's Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Department developed Statecharts, "a method for visually representing the behavior of such complex systems as aircraft, cellular phones, and automobiles." These computerized charts include all the possibilities of action. Ph.D. student Kam is now using this method to study the tiny worm C. elegans to develop models to describe the entire development of an organism---taking into account "all influencing factors and the interactions between them." This interdisciplinary team from the fields of computer science, applied mathematics, and immunology hopes to uncover the blueprint of the worm, which may lead to a better understanding of the intricate networks of other organisms---including homo sapiens.

--- Annette Emerson