SimSoup: News

An Eventful Year So Far

17 October 2009

The SimSoup Open Ended Model Completed

Towards the end of last year, work started on making SimSoup more open ended. The idea was to give Molecules structure, and to have the structure of each Molecule Type determined by the model iteslf. In addition, The Interaction Types that could take place would depend on the structure of the Molecule Types involved.

The first version of the open-ended SimSoup was working in April 2009; the model and some and preliminary results were presented in the paper “SimSoup: Artificial Chemistry Meets Pauling”. The paper is to be included in “Advances in Artificial Life”, the proceedings of ECAL 2009, this year’s European Conference on Artificial Life (follow the Publications link on the left).

The main features of the open ended model are: The rules that determine the structure of Molecules and the way in which they Join and Split are designed to be analogous to real chemistry, while keeping the model conceptually simple and computationally tractable. The key objective is to produce an open ended model in which the opportunities for novelty are similar to those that exist in real chemistry.

Levels of Selection Workshop at ECAL 2009

I attended the Levels of Selection and Individuality in Evolution Workshop at ECAL 2009. There were a number of interesting talks. The invited speaker, Eörs Szathmary gave a fascinating talk on the current status of research into the Major Transitions of Evolution.

I had an ‘extended abstract’ that was included as a poster. Its called “The Origin Of Life: A Network Oriented View”. It presents some of the ideas underpinning the SimSoup project. In particular, the idea that properties of chemical networks played a key role in the origin of the first evolving systems. A mechanism for memory in chemical networks is illustrated. The simplicity of ‘network memory’, especially in comparison with mechanisms based on template replicating molecules such as DNA and RNA, suggests its plausibility as a prebiotic phenomenon and as a fruitful area for Origin of Life research. The extended abstract is available at the Publications link on the left.