Regulatory functions and mechanisms are a necessary, essential, and ubiquitous feature across all biological, social, and mechanical systems. Examples include regulatory genes in bacteria, managers in companies, and even the frequency of oil changes in car engines. It would seem that the need for regulatory function constitutes a universal rule of life. However, it is not understood whether the amount of regulation in a system is optimal. What are the key tradeoffs associated with regulation? How should the costs and benefits be compared? Which systems are close or far from optimal regulation?

The Laws of Regulatory Function project seeks to understand the emergence and optimization of regulatory function across the tree of life, from cells to societies. More detailed questions include: What are the driving factors behind regulatory costs? Is it possible to predict the amount of regulatory function based on size, function, and complexity? Is the trend of growing administration and regulation necessary to ensure the continued functioning of human systems, or is it an unnecessary burden?

Support from National Science Foundation Grant Award 2133863  Understanding the Rules of Life: Emergent Networks (URoL:EN)

Also read: Regulatory mechanisms from cells to societies