School of Mathematics

Daren Wilkinson

Multiscale modelling of open engineered biological systems

Modelling entire ecological communities of bacteria in large, complex open environments is extremely challenging. The NUFEB project ( involves a multi-disciplinary team of researchers developing methods and software for multiscale modelling of open engineered biological systems at scale. Our exemplar project is focused on the modelling of wastewater treatment systems which have macro-scale characteristics arising from the micro-scale features of up to 10^18 individual interacting bacteria. We have developed an individual based model of bacterial communities in an active fluid environment, and we can use this to understand the small-scale features of the system, considering volumes containing up to a few million bacteria. At the system scale we are developing continuum models which capture essential macro-scale properties. We propose a novel technique for coupling the two models to produce a multi-scale model by embedding fast statistical emulators of the individual based model into the macro-scale model. This talk will outline the current state of our work in progress on this ongoing project.