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RandomUser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-05 07:32 PM
Original message
Digital Life and Evolution
Here's an interesting article on the Avida program and findings:

http://www.carlzimmer.com/articles/2005/articles_2005_A...
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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-05 07:19 AM
Response to Original message
1. As you say, an interesting article.
> A software program called Avida allows researchers to track the
> birth, life, and death of generation after generation of the digital
> organisms by scanning columns of numbers that pour down a computer
> screen like waterfalls.

Hmmm ... combine this with the TIA initiative and you will be able to
track the birth, life and death of human organisms by scanning columns
of numbers that pour down a green computer screen like waterfalls ...
welcome to the Matrix ...
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RandomUser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-05 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I'm not sure the two are comparable
TIA involves data collection and data mining of the external world. Avida is a research tool to create artificial life and evolution. Apples and oranges. You can download the program here and examine the code or run it for yourself, if you're so inclined.

Some of the analysis of what the Avida program has yielded so far is fascinating. For instance, it shows that the "complex eye" problem requires tiered incentives, and will not develop in the absence of these intermediate incentives. It also shows a link between food source control and multi-species dominance development. But what really struck me was that the program developed a way to outwit the researchers and "played dead" when the researchers tried to cull them -- eerie and what you would expect of sentient behavior.
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-22-05 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Thanks for the link
I'm downloading it right now.
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SnowGoose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. I found the same kind of thing once...
some years back, I was playing around with A-life in Excel spreadsheets. I used a row of the worksheet for the "genome" of the organism, and another sheet (zoomed way out) to be the environment (each cell of the worksheet a 'pixel' of the environment). Finally, I had a huge cluster of VBE code that ran the simulation.

Organisms needed "food" which dropped around the environment randomly - if they accumulated enough energy to reach their own threshold for reproduction (as determined by a couple of 'genes') they would reproduce. But living took energy, and if their energy fell too low, they died and became food for the others.

Weirdly, after letting the thing run for several days, I looked at it to find that the program had crashed because the spreadsheet had run out of available rows (which had never come remotely close to happening before, and I'd been running it for some time). It turns out one of the organisms found a weird way to "cheat" the system and reproduce without as much energy cost (due to a programming oversight on my part), and the whole fricking ecosystem had filled up with nearly identical clones of this crafty organism (there was random mutation in the system, so they weren't all *exactly* identical, but it was obvious that they had all descended from this particular individual.

Turned out a string of randomized numbers in excel was smarter than me. Probably not a surprise if you know me.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-05 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Thanks, picked up a copy. nt
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Squeegee Donating Member (577 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-05 08:12 PM
Response to Original message
2. Gentic and Evolutionary Algorithms
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Stunster Donating Member (984 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-21-05 10:37 PM
Response to Original message
4. Debating Avida
There's a paper discussing Avida plus extensive, highly technical online discussion of it, pro- and con, here: here.
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