On the number of different dynamics in Boolean networks with deterministic update schedules

J. Aracena, J. Demongeot, E. Fanchon, M. Montalva

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14 Scopus citations


Deterministic Boolean networks are a type of discrete dynamical systems widely used in the modeling of genetic networks. The dynamics of such systems is characterized by the local activation functions and the update schedule, i.e., the order in which the nodes are updated. In this paper, we address the problem of knowing the different dynamics of a Boolean network when the update schedule is changed. We begin by proving that the problem of the existence of a pair of update schedules with different dynamics is NP-complete. However, we show that certain structural properties of the interaction digraph are sufficient for guaranteeing distinct dynamics of a network. In [1] the authors define equivalence classes which have the property that all the update schedules of a given class yield the same dynamics. In order to determine the dynamics associated to a network, we develop an algorithm to efficiently enumerate the above equivalence classes by selecting a representative update schedule for each class with a minimum number of blocks. Finally, we run this algorithm on the well known Arabidopsis thaliana network to determine the full spectrum of its different dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-194
Number of pages7
JournalMathematical Biosciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Boolean network
  • Dynamics
  • Update digraph
  • Update schedule


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