Based at the Moffitt Cancer Center, Florida, Cancer Ecology is a small research group led by David Basanta. We are mathematical modellers who work with biologists and clinicians, trying to understand the ecology of tumors and the evolutionary dynamics of cancer progression and resistance to treatment.

Valentin special: A mathematical approach to predict chromatic outcome from the combination of rosids


A mathematical approach to predict chromatic outcome from the combination of rosids


Yours truly


Since the late 1590s, the chromatic outcome of rosids has remained an unanswered question [1]. Despite the number of researchers and studies producing a wealth of data, that data so far remains inconclusive with different studies pointing  to different conclusions including different types of smell and flavour [2]. Mathematical approaches have proven useful to address scientific questions by integrating several types of experimental data into a theoretical framework and making testable predictions.


We have previously developed a number of sophisticated mathematical models that unfortunately have little applicability to this problem. In this occasion we have decided to assume the rosids to be Rosa[3] and Viola[4]. Specifically Roses and Violet have been traditionally used as model rosids in which to perform this type of research. Existing literature suggests that roses can be abstracted by the RGB triplet (255,102,204)[5]. On the other hand violet has been reported to correspond the the triplet (159,0,255)[6]. The experimental data is shown in figures 1 and 2 below.

 Figure 1: Rose

Figure 1: Rose

 Figure 2: Violet

Figure 2: Violet



By utilizing a computational approach combining both colours and after a number of simulations we derived a number of similar looking colours that our experimentalists have associated with something kind of magenta (personal communication).

 Figure 3: Example of a simulation result

Figure 3: Example of a simulation result

Thus, our main result can be mathematical expressed in this way:

  1. Roses are red
  2. Violets are blue.
  3. The Mix is magenta
  4. And so are you
  5. Signed: your mother


The results presented here are based on solid existing experimental data that has been used to motivate a computational model. The model recapitulates existing results such as the redness  (1) of roses and the (2) blueness of Violets, and produces some new hypotheses yet to be tested (3-5). Although  we are working on the validation of points 3-4, point 5 will need to remain untested until sufficiently sophisticated experimental metrics are developed.

Professors we need you

The beauty of maths