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The EvoGrid

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In the early 1950s at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, the canonical digital computer was created by John von Neumann. One of the first scientific applications written for this machine was a simulation of numerical symbioorganisms, a prototypical artificial life environment authored by researcher Nils Barricelli. In the decades since, computers have increasingly been used as tools to tackle major questions in biology, including the process of evolution and, more recently, the origins of life itself. Richard Gordon, co-editor of the 2008 volume Divine Intervention and Natural Action posed a challenge to a new generation of artificial life programmers to cast off the temptation to intelligently design simple virtual organisms and go to the root of the matter by creating an origin of (artificial) life. Bruce Damer is answering this challenge with his proposed Evolution Grid (or EvoGrid) project which would assemble the elements of a primordial digital soup within which self-organization, replication and, eventually, an origin of virtual life might be observed.

Keywords: artificial life; computer simulation; evolution; origins of life; primordial digital soup

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Doctoral Candidate, The SMARTlab Digital Media Institute, University of East London; CEO and founder of DigitalSpace; founding co-director of the Contact Consortium and the special interest group. 2: The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.

Publication date: 2009-11-01

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