We propose a categorical framework to reason about scientific explanations: descriptions of a phenomenon meant to translate it into simpler terms, or into a context that has been already understood. Our motivating examples come from systems biology, electrical circuit theory, and concurrency. We demonstrate how three explanatory models in these seemingly diverse areas can be all understood uniformly via a graphical calculus of layered props. Layered props allow for a compact visual presentation of the same phenomenon at different levels of precision, as well as the translation between these levels. Notably, our approach allows for partial explanations, that is, for translating just one part of a diagram while keeping the rest of the diagram untouched. Furthermore, our approach paves the way for formal reasoning about counterfactual models in systems biology.

String Diagrams for Layered Explanations

Zanasi F.
2023

Abstract

We propose a categorical framework to reason about scientific explanations: descriptions of a phenomenon meant to translate it into simpler terms, or into a context that has been already understood. Our motivating examples come from systems biology, electrical circuit theory, and concurrency. We demonstrate how three explanatory models in these seemingly diverse areas can be all understood uniformly via a graphical calculus of layered props. Layered props allow for a compact visual presentation of the same phenomenon at different levels of precision, as well as the translation between these levels. Notably, our approach allows for partial explanations, that is, for translating just one part of a diagram while keeping the rest of the diagram untouched. Furthermore, our approach paves the way for formal reasoning about counterfactual models in systems biology.
2023
Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science, EPTCS
362
382
Lobski L.; Zanasi F.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
ACT2022.21.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipo: Versione (PDF) editoriale
Licenza: Licenza per Accesso Aperto. Creative Commons Attribuzione (CCBY)
Dimensione 443.55 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
443.55 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/946718
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 0
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 0
social impact