Artificial Life and Synthetic Ethology
Artificial life has been defined as “a field of study
devoted to understanding life by attempting to abstract
the fundamental dynamical principles underlying biological
and recreating these dynamics in other physical media - such as
computers - making them accessible to new kinds of experimental
and testing” (Chris Langton; for more, see
Artificial Life ONLINE from
Synthetic ethology is an approach to the
study of animal behavior in which
simple, synthetic organisms are allowed to behave and evolve in
a synthetic world.
Because both the organisms and their worlds are synthetic, they
can be constructed
for specific purposes, particularly for testing specific
Publications (reverse chronological order)
- “Synthetic Ethology: A New Tool for Investigating Animal
Cognition,” in Marc Bekoff, Colin Allen, and Gordon M. Burghardt
(Eds.), The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical
Perspectives on Animal Cognition (MIT Press, 2002), ch.
20 (pp. 151–156). Expanded version: Technical Report
- “The Emergence of Communication through Synthetic Evolution” [postscript,
compressed postscript, pdf],
Technical Report UT-CS-99-431, October 20, 1999. Advances
in Evolutionary Synthesis of Neural Systems, edited by
Vasant Honavar, Mukesh Patel, and Karthik Balakrishnan (MIT
Press, 2001), pp. 65–90.
Investigation of Random SKI-Combinator Trees” [compressed
postscript], Technical Report CS-97-370, October 20, 1997.
Greek Miracle: An Artificial Life Simulation of the Effects of
Literacy on the Dynamics of Communication” [compressed
postscript], by Andrew Douglas Digh, MS thesis, December
condensed version (32 pp.) is also avialable. This thesis
reports a study of complex systems phenomena motivated by the
apparent “phase transition” that took place in ancient Greece
when the alphabet was introduced. In particular, the complexity
of behavior (Wolfram’s classes I, II, etc.) is related to a
parameter analogous to Langton's . Instead of a simple cellular automaton, the
topology is given by separate random networks for oral and
of Two Symbol Signals by Simulated Organisms” [postscript],
by Joseph J. Crumpton, MS thesis, December 1994. This thesis
reports experiments on the factors promoting or inhibiting the
evolution of simulated organisms using strings of length 2 for
simulation program is also available.)
- “Synthetic Ethology and the Evolution of Cooperative
Communication” [postscript, compressed postscript, pdf], by Bruce J. MacLennan and
Gordon M. Burghardt. Adaptive Behavior, Vol. 2,
No. 2, Fall 1993, pp. 161–187. There are eight figures (not
included in the above files) in fig 1,
[If you have trouble diplaying or printing these file,
send me mail for a reprint.
- “Synthetic Ethology: An Approach to the Study of
Communication” [postscript, compressed postscript, pdf], by Bruce MacLennan.
Artificial Life II: The Second Workshop on the Synthesis and
Simulation of Living Systems, Santa Fe Institute
Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, proceedings Vol. X,
edited by Christopher G. Langton, Charles Taylor, J. Doyne
Farmer, and Steen Rasmussen. Redwood City, CA: Addison-Wesley,
1992, pp. 631–658. Also
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Department of Computer
Science Technical Report CS-90-104 [compressed postscript],
May 1990, 28 pages.
- “Evolution of Communication in a Population of Simple
Machines'” (without appendices) [compressed
postscript, pdf], Bruce
MacLennan. The appendices are available as separate text files:
App. 1: instructions for running the simulation program,
App. 2: the simulation program in LISP. University of
Tennessee, Knoxville, Department of Computer Science Technical
Report CS-90-99, January 1990, 49 pages.
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Send mail to Bruce MacLennan / MacLennan@eecs.utk.edu
This page is web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/alife.html
Last updated: 2013-09-22.