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Link of the week - Why humans don't crash, but computers do

Link of the week - Why humans don't crash, but computers do


The hierarchical organization of the transcriptional regulatory network of bacterium E. Coli, left, shows a pyramidal structure compared to the Linux call graph, which has many more routines controlling few generic functions at the bottom. Image courtesy of Yale University.

If the human genome is our operating system, then what is it about it that prevents it from crashing as frequently as computer operating systems?

To answer that question, a team of bioinformatics researchers at Yale compared the transcriptional regulatory network of bacteria with the Linux call graph. According to the Yale press release:

The molecular networks in the bacteria are arranged in a pyramid, with a limited number of master regulatory genes at the top that control a broad base of specialized functions, which act independently.

In contrast, the Linux operating system is organized more like an inverted pyramid, with many different top-level routines controlling few generic functions at the bottom of the network.

The inverted pyramid configuration, according to the paper, is more unstable.

To read more, visit the press release, or check out the paper, which was published online in the 3 May edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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