We have constructed a model of the immune system that focuses on the clonotypic cell types and their interactions with other cells, and with antigens and antibodies. We carry out simulations of the humoral immune system based on a generalized cellular automaton implementation of the model. We propose using computer simulation as a tool for doing experiments in machina, in the computer, as an adjunct to the usual in vivo and in vitro techniques. These experiments would not be intended to replace the usual biological experiments since, in the foreseeable future, a complete enough computer model capable of reliably simulating the whole immune would not be possible. However a model simulating areas of interest could be used for extensively testing ideas to help in the design of the critical biological experiments. Our present model concentrates on the cellular interactions and is quite adept at testing the importance and effects of cellular interactions with other cells, antigens and antibodies. The implementation is quite general and unrestricted allowing most other immune system components to be added with relative ease when desired. © 1992 Academic Press Limited.