Three Illustrations of Artificial Life's Working Hypothesis

Artificial life uses computer models to study the essential nature of the characteristic processes of complex adaptive systems proceses such as self-organization, adaptation, and evolution. Work in the field is guided by the working hypothesis that simple computer models can capture the essential nature of these processes. This hypothesis is illustrated by recent results with a simple population of computational agents whose sensorimotor functionality undergo open-ended adaptive evolution. These might illuminate three aspects of complex adaptive systems in general: punctuated equilibrium dynamics of diversity, a transition separating genetic order and disorder, and a law of adaptive evolutionary activity.
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Mark A. Bedau (1998). Philosophical Content and Method of Artificial Life. In T. W. Bynum & J. Moor (eds.), The Digital Phoenix. Cambridge: Blackwell 135--152.

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