Publication details

The Control of Dynamical Systems by Evolved Constraints: A New Perspective on Modelling Life

Tim Taylor
2002
Abstract

It is argued that a fruitful, and as yet unexplored, avenue for artificial life research lies in modelling organisms as organisations embedded within a dynamical system environment. From this perspective, the origin and evolution of life is the progressive control of the dynamical system at a local level by constraints which are represented on an organism’s genome. Such an approach shifts the focus of artificial life models away from the design of individuals, towards the interaction of an individual with its dynamic environment. It also admits no representational distinction between organism and environment. An evolutionary cellular automata system, called EvoCA, is introduced as a tool to explore these ideas. In EvoCA, an evolved individual is a collection of constraints on the state of specific cells in the CA. Results are presented of initial experiments to investigate the interaction of evolution with the dynamics of EvoCA under various regimes (as characterised by Langton’s lambda parameter) and to study different ways of specifying constraints (i.e. timed and conditional genes). It is suggested that, for future experiments, it may be productive to allow evolution more opportunity to exploit the given dynamics of the environment, by using natural selection methods, rather than trying to force it in a particular direction using the artificial selection methods of genetic algorithms. A variety of planned future experiments are discussed.

Full text
  • Author preprint: pdf
Reference

Taylor, T. (2002). The Control of Dynamical Systems by Evolved Constraints: A New Perspective on Modelling Life (Informatics Research Report No. EDI-INF-RR-0148). University of Edinburgh.

BibTeX

@techreport{taylor2002control,
  author = {Taylor, Tim},
  title = {The Control of Dynamical Systems by Evolved Constraints: A New Perspective on Modelling Life},
  institution = {University of Edinburgh},
  year = {2002},
  type = {Informatics Research Report},
  number = {EDI-INF-RR-0148},
  note = {A poster based upon this work entitled "An Alternative Approach to the Synthesis of Life" was presented at the 8th International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems (ALIFE 8), Sydney, Australia, December 2002},
  category = {techreport},
  keywords = {evoca, agency}
}

Note

Record on departmental database: EDI-INF-RR-0148

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