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Simulation Of Biological Systems

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.361.1 - 2.361.16



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Paper Authors

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John S. Cundiff

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Foster A. Agblevor

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1608 Simulation of Biological Systems

John S. Cundiff Foster A. Agblevor Virginia Tech

In 1991, the Agricultural Engineering Department at Virginia Tech changed the name of the undergraduate degree program to “Biological Systems Engineering.” Over the years, Agricultural Engineering, like other engineering disciplines, has expanded into new areas of activity. Activity focused on production agriculture is still a key component of the discipline, but it now coexists with a range of other activities. Changing the name to Biological Systems Engineering better communicates the range of activities in the Department and in the discipline.

A new curriculum was designed, primarily by refocusing on-going activity in the Department. This curriculum allows the student opportunity to choose electives which develop a “limited specialization.” The two specializations available are:

1. Land and Water Resource Engineering 2. Biological Engineering


Land and Water Resource Engineering builds on a traditional strength in Agricultural Engineering. This limited specialization focuses on the stewardship of our land and water resource. Issues are soil conservation, water quality, non-point source pollution, precision farming, decision support systems for land use planning, and watershed management. Students who want to focus on environmental interactions in a biological system generally select the courses in the Land and Water Engineering limited specialization.

Biological Engineering was organized around on-going activities in food engineering (primarily thermal processing of biological materials into food products) and physical properties of biological materials. A new faculty member (Co-author, Agblevor) was hired to develop a program in “Bioprocess Engineering,” defined as the conversion of biological materials into non- food products (fuel and industrial chemicals). Future plans call for expansion of bioprocess engineering activity to include other, higher-value products.

The course described in this paper is titled, “Simulation of Biological Systems.” It is one of the courses designated as a core course for both limited specializations. This course provides the foundation which the students need for subsequent courses in their limited specialization. Organization of the course was a compromise between Biological Engineering students who do not want to spend too much time studying plants and Land and Water Engineering students who do not want to spend too much time studying microbial processes.

The faculty decided that mathematical description, and subsequent simulation, of a biological system provides understanding that is valuable to students in both specializations. For example,

Cundiff, J. S., & Agblevor, F. A. (1997, June), Simulation Of Biological Systems Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6783

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