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Colloquium - Mitchell

Emergent Computation in Complex Systems
Santa Fe Institute
3/6/1997
3:30pm-4:30pm

Understanding relationships among computation, dynamical systems, and evolution is proving to be an essential part of the interdisciplinary study of complex systems. In particular, many sciences are striving to understand principles by which evolution can produce sophisticated "emergent" computation in spatially extended dynamical systems composed of simple components limited to local interactions.

In this talk I will describe a model of such a process, in which a genetic algorithm was used to evolve cellular automata to perform computations requiring global information. Several quite sophisticated "collective" computational strategies were discovered. I will describe an analysis of these strategies in terms of information processing performed by "particles" in space-time, and describe in detail the temporal mechanisms by which the genetic algorithm discovered these strategies. This analysis is a preliminary step in understanding the general mechanisms by which sophisticated emergent computational capabilities can come about in complex systems, and how they can be understood by scientists.

Refreshments will be served immediately before the talk at 3:20pm.
Hosted by Michael Mozer.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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www.cs.colorado.edu
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