Monday, March 17, 2008

Artificial Life: An Overview

An Evolutionary Approach to Synthetic Biology: Zen and the Art of Creating Life, Thomas Ray
We have only encountered one kind of life -- so we need to create digital life, to find out what
life really requires. 'Inoculation of evolution ... into the medium of the digital computer.'
At the moment we don't know what the important features -- but we will choose with
natural selection; natural selection requires death. 'These are not models of life', but different forms of life. This particular essay talks about how to create life -- see his work on Tierra.

The process of evolution by natural selection is able to create complex and beautiful information processing systems (such as primate nervous systems) without the guidance of an intelligent supervisor. Yet intelligent programmers have not been able to produce software systems that match even the full capabilities of insects. Recent experiments demonstrate that evolution by natural selection is able to operate effectively in genetic languages based on the machine codes of digital computers (Ray 1991a, 1991b, 1994c). This opens up the possibility of using evolution to generate complex software (Tierra)