Modelling and simulation are at the heart of the rapidly developing field of systems biology. This paper reviews various types of models, simulation methods, and theoretical approaches that are presently being used in the quantitative description of cellular processes. We first describe how molecular interaction networks can be represented by means of stoichiometric, topological and kinetic models. We briefly discuss the formulation of kinetic models using mesoscopic (stochastic) or macroscopic (continuous) approaches, and we go on to describe how detailed models of molecular interaction networks (silicon cells) can be constructed on the basis of experimentally determined kinetic parameters for cellular processes. We show how theory can help in analyzing models by applying control analysis to a recently published silicon cell model. Finally, we review some of the theoretical approaches available to analyse kinetic models and experimental data, respectively. © 2006 Springer Science + Business Media B.V.