Tuesday, October 11, 2005

alife seminars (i)

back to teaching alife seminars. this year's group is much smaller and that's actually a good thing. two hour discussion on richard dawkins' "evolution of evolvability" isn't as straightforward as it seems. the perspectives that the students take on the subject can be quite diverse and at times unintelligible. there's a number of interesting points that this paper raises but there's also an inmenly loose treatment of an artificial model to answer any scientifically relevant questions.

the main points raised during the seminar discussions were: (a) the use of artificial life models, either as models of real life or as generator of insight; (b) being clear about the assumptions that are being built into your alife model and trying to reduce these to the bearest minimum necessary or possible; (c) the use of embriology in artificial evolution as a helpful constraint/canalisation of useful forms; (d) whether his model gives insight towards the evolution of evolvability? (e) and in which ways would this model be extended or improved either to answer questions regarding the evolution of evolvability or other questions.

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