# Emergent Criticality in Coupled Boolean Networks

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## Abstract

**:**

## 1. Introduction

## 2. Models and Methods

#### 2.1. Boolean Networks

#### 2.2. Dynamic Control Kernel

#### 2.3. Coupled Boolean Networks

#### 2.4. Detecting Cell Types

## 3. Results

**Case 1**.- If ${h}_{0}=0$, the CK is not affected by unpinned dynamics. Thus, the Hamiltonian reduces to the standard r-layer Ising model under the influence of an external field.
**Case 2**.**Case 3**.- For ${h}_{0}\approx J$, the r Ising layers are coupled through the dynamics of each BN. This is a nontrivial, bidirectional, and time-dependent nonlinear coupling.

#### 3.1. Spontaneous Cell Differentiation

#### 3.2. Self-Tuned Cell Differentiation

## 4. Conclusions

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Institutional Review Board Statement

## Data Availability Statement

## Conflicts of Interest

## Appendix A

**Table A1.**Table of parameters, definitions, and parameter values utilized in the model development and simulations. There are two control parameters: the intercellular intrinsic noise (T) and the tendency of the system to retain its original BN dynamics (${h}_{0}$). Both parameters are measured in J units.

Parameter Notation | Definition | Parameter Values |
---|---|---|

k | BN connectivity | 2 |

p | Boolean function bias | $0.5$ |

q | perturbation probability | $0.1,0.02$ |

r | control kernel size | $1,2$ |

J | interaction strength/energy unit | 1 |

h | external field constant | 0 |

$\alpha $ | relaxation coefficient | $0.8$ |

$\mathcal{T}$ | simulation time (MC steps) | ${10}^{4}$ |

${t}_{eq}$ | equilibration time (MC steps) | ${10}^{4}$ |

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**Figure 1.**A 6-gene network with $k=2$, and the bias of $p=0.5$. (

**a**) Wiring diagram of the network. (

**b**) Truth table of Boolean functions. (

**c**) State transition diagram. (

**d**) Steady-state distribution, ${g}_{0}\left(s\right)$, with perturbation $q=0.1$.

**Figure 2.**(

**Left**) Pinned BN with $r=1$; ${x}_{1}$ is either 0 or 1. The two resulting steady-state distributions ${g}_{1}^{\left(1\right)}\left(s\right)$ and ${g}_{2}^{\left(1\right)}\left(s\right)$ have partitioned state spaces and preserve attractor points. (

**Right**) Pinned BN with $r=2$; ${x}_{1}$ and ${x}_{2}$ are pinned to either 0 or 1. The four resulting steady-state distributions ${g}_{1}^{\left(2\right)}\left(s\right)$, ${g}_{2}^{\left(2\right)}\left(s\right)$, ${g}_{3}^{\left(2\right)}\left(s\right)$, and ${g}_{4}^{\left(2\right)}\left(s\right)$, once again, have partitioned state spaces and preserve attractor points.

**Figure 3.**Stochastic pinning of the BN: (

**a**) transition diagram for a two-state, ${\mathbf{W}}_{1}=\{1,2\}$, stochastic pinning process; (

**b**) first 100 sampled values of the stochastic process ${\eta}_{t}$; and (

**c**) steady-state distribution of the stochastic CK, $g\left(s\right)$, obtained after $\mathcal{T}={10}^{5}$ simulation steps.

**Figure 4.**Differentiation process for $r=1$ and a $50\times 50$ tissue size. First row: spontaneous differentiation process as a function of ${h}_{0}$ for (

**a**) $T=0.25$, (

**b**) $T=1$, and (

**c**) $T=1.25$. Second row: spontaneous differentiation process as a function of T for (

**d**) ${h}_{0}=0$, (

**e**) ${h}_{0}=0.5$, and (

**f**) ${h}_{0}=1$. The arrow approximately indicates the differentiation starting point.

**Figure 5.**Differentiation process for $r=2$ and on a $50\times 50$ tissue. First row: spontaneous differentiation process as a function of ${h}_{0}$ for (

**a**) $T=0.25$, (

**b**) $T=1$, and (

**c**) $T=1.25$. Second row: spontaneous differentiation process as a function of T for (

**d**) ${h}_{0}=0$, (

**e**) ${h}_{0}=0.5$, and (

**f**) ${h}_{0}=1$. The arrow and dashed arrow denote approximate starting points of two different differentiation processes.

**Figure 6.**Cell-to-cell variability for $r=2$ with ${h}_{0}=0.5$ on a $50\times 50$ tissue. First row ((

**a**,

**c**,

**e**) shows time evolutions of the cell fractions, and the second row ((

**b**,

**d**,

**f**) shows representative snapshots of the tissue states at time $t=67$ respectively. Temperature is $T=3$ for the first column ((

**a**,

**b**)), $T=1.85$ for the second column ((

**c**,

**d**)), and $T=1$ for the third column ((

**e**,

**f**)). The time unit is ${10}^{2}$ MC steps.

**Figure 7.**Simulations of a $32\times 32$ Ising model with a self-tuning feedback equation (Equation (8)). Here, $h=0$, ${h}_{0}=0$, and $\alpha =0.8$. (

**a**) Magnetization trajectories show two systems are driven to ${M}_{t}\approx 0$ immediately upon initialization and eventually self-tune to two different homogeneous cell types (${M}_{t}\approx -1$ or ${M}_{t}\approx 1$). (

**b**) The simulations show that the temperature drop slows as it descends below the critical temperature (${T}_{c}$) and eventually reaches a steady temperature. Combining (

**a**) and (

**b**), we see that as the feedback temperature reaches the Ising critical temperature (${T}_{c}$), the magnetizations begin to diverge and tissue differentiates homogeneously to one of the two possible cell types. The time unit is ${10}^{2}$ MC steps with ${N}_{MC}=10$.

**Figure 8.**One hundred independent tissue simulations of a $32\times 32$ Ising Hamiltonian (Equation (5) with the temperature–magnetization feedback mechanism (Equation (8)) are shown: (

**a**) At time $t=1$, where the initial temperature is high ($T=2.8$), all cells are of cell type ${\mathbf{g}}_{2}^{\left(1\right)}$. (

**b**) At time $t=1\times {10}^{5}$, where the tissues are ${M}_{t}\approx 0$, there is a mixture of ${\mathbf{g}}_{1}^{\left(1\right)}$ and ${\mathbf{g}}_{2}^{\left(1\right)}$ cell types from Figure 2 (left), and the average cell state at the colony-level remains unimodal, centered between the distributions ${g}_{1}^{\left(1\right)}\left(s\right)$ and ${g}_{2}^{\left(1\right)}\left(s\right)$. (

**c**) At time $t=6\times {10}^{5}$, the tissues decide on the fate of the cells with a drop in temperature to critical and subcritical points, and hence, ${M}_{t}\approx -1$ or ${M}_{t}\approx 1$. This results in a split, bimodal distributions of gene states at the cellular and colony level.

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**MDPI and ACS Style**

Kang, C.; McElroy, M.; Voulgarakis, N.K.
Emergent Criticality in Coupled Boolean Networks. *Entropy* **2023**, *25*, 235.
https://doi.org/10.3390/e25020235

**AMA Style**

Kang C, McElroy M, Voulgarakis NK.
Emergent Criticality in Coupled Boolean Networks. *Entropy*. 2023; 25(2):235.
https://doi.org/10.3390/e25020235

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Kang, Chris, Madelynn McElroy, and Nikolaos K. Voulgarakis.
2023. "Emergent Criticality in Coupled Boolean Networks" *Entropy* 25, no. 2: 235.
https://doi.org/10.3390/e25020235