Information pertaining to enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose by noncomplexed cellulase enzyme systems is reviewed with a particular emphasis on development of aggregated understanding incorporating substrate features in addition to concentration and multiple cellulase components. Topics considered include properties of cellulose, adsorption, cellulose hydrolysis, and quantitative models. A classification scheme is proposed for quantitative models for enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose based on the number of solubilizing activities and substrate state variables included. We suggest that it is timely to revisit and reinvigorate functional modeling of cellulose hydrolysis, and that this would be highly beneficial if not necessary in order to bring to bear the large volume of information available on cellulase components on the primary applications that motivate interest in the subject. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.