Artificial Life


(commonly called a-life) is the term applied
collectively to attempts being made to develop mathematical models and
computer simulations of the ways in which living organisms develop, grow,
and evolve. Researchers in this burgeoning field hope to gain deeper
insights into the nature of organic life as well as into the further
possibilities of COMPUTER science and robotics (see ROBOT). A-life
techniques are also being used to explore the origins and chemical
processes of metabolism. Some investigators have even proposed that some
digital "life" in computers might already be considered a real life form.

Background

The term artificial life was coined in the 1980s by Christopher ...

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begun to explore the
nature of very basic a-life formats called cellular automata (see AUTOMATA,
THEORY OF) in the 1950s. Cellular automata are imaginary mathematical
"cells" --analogous to checkerboard squares--that can be made to simulate
physical processes by subjecting them to certain simple rules called
algorithms (see ALGORITHM). Before his death, von Neumann had developed a
set of algorithms by which a cellular automaton--a box shape with a very
long tail--could "reproduce" itself.

Another important predecessor of a-life research was Dutch biologist
Aristid Lindenmeyer. Interested in the mathematics of plant growth,
Lindenmeyer found in the 1960s that through the use of a few basic
algorithms--now called Lindenmeyer systems, or L-systems--he could model
biochemical processes as well as tracing the development of complex
biological forms such as flowers. Computer-graphics programs now make use
of L-systems to yield realistic three-dimensional images of plants.

The ...

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"Artificial Life." Essayworld.com. March 18, 2004. Accessed May 28, 2020. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Artificial-Life/4761.
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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 3/18/2004 05:39:27 AM
Category: Science & Nature
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 648
Pages: 3

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