Von Neumann’s growth model: Statistical mechanics and biological applications
1 CNR-IPCF, Dipartimento di Fisica, Sapienza Università di Roma, Roma, Italy
2 Dipartimento di Fisica, Sapienza Università di Roma, Roma, Italy
Revised: 23 July 2012
Published online: 17 September 2012
We review recent work on the statistical mechanics of Von Neumann’s growth model and discuss its application to cellular metabolic networks. In this context, we present a detailed analysis of the physiological scenario underlying optimality à la Von Neumann in the metabolism of the bacterium E. coli, showing that optimal solutions are characterized by a considerable microscopic flexibility accompanied by a robust emergent picture for the key physiological functions. This suggests that the ideas behind optimal economic growth in Von Neumann’s model can be helpful in uncovering functional organization principles of cell energetics.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2012