Escalating model sizes and complexities call for standardized forms of representation
The recent work of Kitano et al on a comprehensive EGFR Pathway Map (Mol Systems Biol, this issue) represents a tremendous amount of intellectual effort. The scale of the model is breathtaking. No doubt some readers will assail the effort on the grounds that models of this size and complexity are difficult to verify, but while this may be true for today's methods, it is an unhelpful criticism. The inescapable reality in systems biology is that models (that is to say, hypotheses cast in a computational form) will continue to grow in size, complexity, and scope. Rather than grouse, we should be thinking about how to developways of analyzing and verifying models of this scale. We also need to improve our methods of sharing and understanding each other's work in order to facilitate the iterative processes of review and refinement that are fundamental to modeling.