Preprint Open Access

Tutorial of numerical continuation and bifurcation theory for systems and synthetic biology

Blyth, Mark; Renson, Ludovic; Marucci, Lucia


Mathematical modelling allows us to concisely describe fundamental principles in biology. Analysis of models can help to both explain known phenomena, and predict the existence of new, unseen behaviours. Model analysis is often a complex task, such that we have little choice but to approach the problem with computational methods. Numerical continuation is a computational method for analysing the dynamics of nonlinear models by algorithmically detecting bifurcations. Here we aim to promote the use of numerical continuation tools by providing an introduction to nonlinear dynamics and numerical bifurcation analysis. Many numerical continuation packages are available, covering a wide range of system classes; a review of these packages is provided, to help both new and experienced practitioners in choosing the appropriate software tools for their needs.

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