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  • A neural correlate of sensory consciousness in a corvid bird
    by cxdig on September 26, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    Andreas Nieder, Lysann Wagener, Paul Rinnert Science  25 Sep 2020:Vol. 369, Issue 6511, pp. 1626-1629DOI: 10.1126/science.abb1447   Subjective experiences that can be consciously accessed and reported are associated with the cerebral cortex. Whether sensory consciousness can also arise from differently organized brains that lack a layered cerebral cortex, such as the bird brain, remains unknown. We show that single-neuron responses in the pallial endbrain of crows performing a visual […]

  • A Dialogue Concerning the Essence and Role of Information in the World System
    by cxdig on September 25, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    Mark Burgin and Jaime F. Cárdenas-García Information 2020, 11(9), 406   The goal of this paper is to represent two approaches to the phenomenon of information, explicating its nature and essence. In this context, Mark Burgin demonstrates how the general theory of information (GTI) describes and elucidates the phenomenon of information by explaining the axiomatic foundations for information studies and presenting the comprising mathematical theory of information. The perspective promoted by […]

  • What COVID-19 Reinfection Means for Vaccines
    by cxdig on September 25, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    We now know repeat infections are possible; understanding them will shape the fight against the pandemic Source:

  • Symbiosis Promotes Fitness Improvements in the Game of Life
    by cxdig on September 23, 2020 at 5:04 pm

    Peter D. Turney Artificial LifeVolume 26 | Issue 3 | Summer 2020 p.338-365   We present a computational simulation of evolving entities that includes symbiosis with shifting levels of selection. Evolution by natural selection shifts from the level of the original entities to the level of the new symbiotic entity. In the simulation, the fitness of an entity is measured by a series of one-on-one competitions in the Immigration Game, a two-player variation of Conway's Game of Life. Mutation, […]

  • Changing Connectomes: Evolution, Development, and Dynamics in Network Neuroscience: Kaiser, Marcus
    by cxdig on September 23, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    An up-to-date overview of the field of connectomics, introducing concepts and mechanisms underlying brain network change at different stages.The human brain undergoes massive changes during its development, from early childhood and the teenage years to adulthood and old age. Across a wide range of species, from C. elegans and fruit flies to mice, monkeys, and humans, information about brain connectivity (connectomes) at different stages is now becoming available. New approaches in network […]

  • International Journal of Complexity in Education
    by cxdig on September 20, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    It is our pleasure to welcome you to the inaugural issue of the International Journal of Complexity in Education (IJCE). The aim of the journal is to disseminate mainly empirical research about the application of complexity theory paradigm to educational processes in the broadest sense of the word. The new paradigm focuses on general and specific properties of complex systems and includes the related subfields, such as chaos theory, agent-based modeling, social network analysis, cellular […]

  • How Renormalization Saved Particle Physics
    by cxdig on September 19, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Renormalization has become perhaps the single most important advance in theoretical physics in 50 years. Source:

  • ‘Trained Immunity’ Offers Hope in Fight Against Coronavirus
    by cxdig on September 18, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    A novel form of immunological memory that was mostly ignored for a century extends the benefits of vaccines. It could be of help in ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Source:

  • Masks Do More Than Protect Others During COVID-19: Reducing the Inoculum of SARS-CoV-2 to Protect the Wearer
    by cxdig on September 18, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    Monica Gandhi MD, MPH, Chris Beyrer MD, MPH & Eric Goosby MD Journal of General Internal Medicine (2020)   Although the benefit of population-level public facial masking to protect others during the COVID-19 pandemic has received a great deal of attention, we discuss for one of the first times the hypothesis that universal masking reduces the “inoculum” or dose of the virus for the mask-wearer, leading to more mild and asymptomatic infection manifestations. Masks, depending on type, […]

  • CCS 2020 Warm-Up
    by cxdig on September 17, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Coinciding with the Conference on Complex Systems, and profiting from the opportunity offered by the presence of a wide variety of experts in different topics, we are organising one-day school for PhD students and early-stage researchers. The school is an informal one-day event that offers early-stage scientists the opportunity to learn about the scientific and life experience of young and senior researchers, try their skills in a data visualisation and have fun playing the specifically […]

  • COVID-19: Saving thousands of lives and trillions in livelihoods
    by cxdig on September 15, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    Ending lockdowns alone won’t restore confidence or growth. Only when the novel coronavirus is under control will economic growth resume. Source:

  • Social influence and unfollowing accelerate the emergence of echo chambers
    by cxdig on September 14, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Kazutoshi Sasahara, Wen Chen, Hao Peng, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Alessandro Flammini & Filippo Menczer Journal of Computational Social Science (2020)   While social media make it easy to connect with and access information from anyone, they also facilitate basic influence and unfriending mechanisms that may lead to segregated and polarized clusters known as “echo chambers.” Here we study the conditions in which such echo chambers emerge by introducing a simple model of information […]

  • This Is Why We Couldn’t Control the Pandemic
    by cxdig on September 14, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    Some countries slammed their doors. It worked — until they let outsiders back in. Source:

  • Bending the curve of terrestrial biodiversity needs an integrated strategy
    by cxdig on September 13, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    David Leclère, Michael Obersteiner, Lucy Young Nature (2020)   Increased efforts are required to prevent further losses to terrestrial biodiversity and the ecosystem services that it provides. Ambitious targets have been proposed, such as reversing the declining trends in biodiversity; however, just feeding the growing human population will make this a challenge. Here we use an ensemble of land-use and biodiversity models to assess whether—and how—humanity can reverse the declines in […]

  • The coronavirus is mutating — does it matter?
    by cxdig on September 12, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Different SARS-CoV-2 strains haven’t yet had a major impact on the course of the pandemic, but they might in future. Source:

  • Global quieting of high-frequency seismic noise due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures
    by cxdig on September 11, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    Thomas Lecocq, et al. Science  11 Sep 2020:Vol. 369, Issue 6509, pp. 1338-1343DOI: 10.1126/science.abd2438   Human activity causes vibrations that propagate into the ground as high-frequency seismic waves. Measures to mitigate the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused widespread changes in human activity, leading to a months-long reduction in seismic noise of up to 50%. The 2020 seismic noise quiet period is the longest and most prominent global anthropogenic seismic noise […]

  • Complexity Weekend. October 16-18, 2020
    by cxdig on September 11, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Meet new collaborators and learn Complexity Science by doingComplexity Science is an interdisciplinary and inclusive framework for studying, designing, and controlling Complex system behavior, such as global pandemics, extreme weather events, electoral politics, economic recovery and poverty, and much more. Over the course of one weekend, you will experience Complexity from a variety of perspectives, while developing solutions to real-world problems in a team setting, such as:   Information […]

  • America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral
    by cxdig on September 10, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    As the U.S. heads toward the winter, the country is going round in circles, making the same conceptual errors that have plagued it since spring. Source:

  • A global network for network medicine
    by cxdig on September 7, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    Bradley A. Maron, Lucia Altucci, Jean-Luc Balligand, Jan Baumbach, Peter Ferdinandy, Sebastiano Filetti, Paolo Parini, Enrico Petrillo, Edwin K. Silverman, Albert-László Barabási, Joseph Loscalzo & International Network Medicine Consortiumnpj Systems Biology and Applications volume 6, Article number: 29 (2020)   Network Medicine is now an established scientific discipline, having generated key insights on integrated mechanisms underlying complex human diseases. The next discovery […]

  • Complexity science approach to economic crime
    by cxdig on September 6, 2020 at 5:04 pm

    János Kertész and Johannes Wachs discuss how complexity science and network science are particularly useful for identifying and describing the hidden traces of economic misbehaviour such as fraud and corruption.   Nature Reviews Physics (2020) Source:

  • AI and Its New Winter: from Myths to Realities
    by cxdig on September 6, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Luciano Floridi Philosophy & Technology volume 33, pages1–3(2020)   The trouble with seasonal metaphors is that they are cyclical. If you say that artificial intelligence (AI) got through a bad winter, you must also remember that winter will return, and you better be ready. An AI winter is that stage when technology, business, and the media get out of their warm and comfortable bubble, cool down, temper their sci-fi speculations and unreasonable hypes, and come to terms with what AI […]

  • Electronically integrated, mass-manufactured, microscopic robots
    by cxdig on September 5, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    Marc Z. Miskin, Alejandro J. Cortese, Kyle Dorsey, Edward P. Esposito, Michael F. Reynolds, Qingkun Liu, Michael Cao, David A. Muller, Paul L. McEuen & Itai Cohen Nature volume 584, pages557–561(2020)   Fifty years of Moore’s law scaling in microelectronics have brought remarkable opportunities for the rapidly evolving field of microscopic robotics1,2,3,4,5. Electronic, magnetic and optical systems now offer an unprecedented combination of complexity, small size and low cost6,7, and […]

  • Towards a general theory of the major cooperative evolutionary transitions
    by cxdig on September 5, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Towards a general theory of the major cooperative evolutionary transitionsJohn E.Stewart BiosystemsVolume 198, December 2020, 104237   Major Cooperative Evolutionary Transitions occur when smaller-scale entities cooperate together to give rise to larger-scale entities that evolve and adapt as coherent wholes. Key examples of cooperative transitions are the emergence of the complex eukaryote cell from communities of simpler cells, the transition from eukaryote cells to multicellular organisms, […]

  • Full professor in Theoretical Computer Science at the informatics institute @UvA
    by cxdig on September 4, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    Do you have the ambition to develop world class research in Theoretical Computer Science at the Informatics Institute, and together with the other new chair Theoretical Computer Science at the Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation form a strong and visible nucleus Theoretical Computer Science in our University? Are you willing to collaborate with other research groups, also within other faculties of the University, to seek relations with public or private partners, to be visible in the […]

  • A minority of self-organizing autonomous vehicles significantly increase freeway traffic flow
    by cxdig on September 3, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Amir Goldental and Ido Kanter Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical   This study investigates the dynamics of traffic containing human-driven vehicles along with a fraction of self-organized artificial intelligence (AI) autonomous vehicles (AVs) on multilane freeways. We propose guidelines for the development of AI agents, such that a small fraction of AVs forms local constellations that significantly accelerate the entire traffic flow while reducing fuel consumption and […]

  • SICC Talks on Complexity
    by cxdig on September 2, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    The Italian Society for Chaos and Complexity (SICC) is proud to introduce the SICC Talks on Complexity a series of online lectures on hot topics on complexity at large. Each seminar will be given by two prominent scholars and followed by a short debate and Q&A session. Upon free registration, participants will receive instructions on how to connect to attend the lecture. Each year, the Italian Society for Chaos and Complexity organizes the SICC International Tutorial Workshop TOPICS IN […]

  • Non-normality and non-monotonic dynamics in complex reaction networks
    by cxdig on August 31, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    Zachary G. Nicolaou, Takashi Nishikawa, Schuyler B. Nicholson, Jason R. Green, Adilson E. Motter   Complex chemical reaction networks, which underlie many industrial and biological processes, often exhibit non-monotonic changes in chemical species concentrations, typically described using nonlinear models. Such non-monotonic dynamics are in principle possible even in linear models if the matrices defining the models are non-normal, as characterized by a necessarily non-orthogonal set of […]

  • Data Science and Cities: A Critical Approach
    by cxdig on August 29, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Fábio Duarte and Priyanka deSouza   Sensors increasingly permeate our lives and generate a plethora of data, which has transformed the way we live in cities. Planners have been using data-science to improve our understanding of urban issues. While other domains have highlighted concerns with big data collection, aggregation, and analytical methods to understand different phenomena, urban planning has an additional aspiration: not only to understand, but to transform society through planning. […]

  • Swarm Intelligence and Cyber-Physical Systems: Concepts, Challenges and Future Trends 
    by cxdig on August 28, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    Melanie Schranz, Gianni A.Di Caro, Thomas Schmickl, Wilfried Elmenreich, Farshad Arvin, Ahmet Şekercioğlu, Micha Sende Swarm and Evolutionary Computation   Swarm Intelligence (SI) is a popular multi-agent framework that has been originally inspired by swarm behaviors observed in natural systems, such as ant and bee colonies. In a system designed after swarm intelligence, each agent acts autonomously, reacts on dynamic inputs, and, implicitly or explicitly, works collaboratively with other […]

  • An automated pipeline for the discovery of conspiracy and conspiracy theory narrative frameworks: Bridgegate, Pizzagate and storytelling on the web
    by cxdig on August 28, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Timothy R. Tangherlini, Shadi Shahsavari, Behnam Shahbazi, Ehsan Ebrahimzadeh, Vwani Roychowdhury   Although a great deal of attention has been paid to how conspiracy theories circulate on social media and their factual counterpart conspiracies, there has been little computational work done on describing their narrative structures. We present an automated pipeline for the discovery and description of the generative narrative frameworks of conspiracy theories on social media, and actual […]

  • Socio-economic, built environment, and mobility conditions associated with crime: a study of multiple cities
    by cxdig on August 25, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Marco De Nadai, Yanyan Xu, Emmanuel Letouzé, Marta C. González & Bruno Lepri Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 13871 (2020)   Nowadays, 23% of the world population lives in multi-million cities. In these metropolises, criminal activity is much higher and violent than in either small cities or rural areas. Thus, understanding what factors influence urban crime in big cities is a pressing need. Seminal studies analyse crime records through historical panel data or analysis […]

  • Evolution of Cellular Differentiation: From Hypotheses to Models
    by cxdig on August 25, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    Pedro Márquez-Zacarías, Rozenn M. Pineau, Marcella Gomez, Alan Veliz-Cuba, David Murrugarra, William C. Ratcliff, Karl J.Niklas Trends in Ecology and Evolution   Cellular differentiation is one of the hallmarks of complex multicellularity, allowing individual organisms to capitalize on among-cell functional diversity. The evolution of multicellularity is a major evolutionary transition that allowed for the increase of organismal complexity in multiple lineages, a process that relies on the […]

  • The origins of life and its continuing wonder
    by cxdig on August 24, 2020 at 3:34 pm Scientist and MacArthur Fellow Stuart Kauffman explains how life evolved from its earlier origins some 3,700 million years ago through the story of four protocells - Patrick, Rupert, Sly and Gus. He explains why our knowledge of the origins and early evolution of life can greatly help us understand our true place in the world. Our human species is part of nature, not above it. Source:

  • Managing News Overload (MNO): The COVID-19 Infodemic
    by cxdig on August 22, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Sameera Tahira Ahmed Information 2020, 11(8), 375   A crucial area in which information overload is experienced is news consumption. Ever increasing sources and formats are becoming available through a combination of traditional and new (digital) media, including social media. In such an information and media rich environment, understanding how people access and manage news during a global health epidemic like COVID-19 becomes even more important. The designation of the current situation as an […]

  • The evolution of universal adaptations of life is driven by universal properties of matter: energy, entropy, and interaction
    by cxdig on August 19, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    Irun R. Cohen, Assaf Marron   The evolution of multicellular eukaryotes expresses two sorts of adaptations: local adaptations like fur or feathers, which characterize species in particular environments, and universal adaptations like microbiomes or sexual reproduction, which characterize most multicellulars in any environment. We reason that the mechanisms driving the universal adaptations of multicellulars should themselves be universal, and propose a mechanism based on properties of matter […]

  • An Ansatz for undecidable computation in RNA-world automata
    by cxdig on August 19, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    Adam J. Svahn, Mikhail Prokopenko   In this Ansatz we consider theoretical constructions of RNA polymers into automata, a form of computational structure. The basis for transitions in our automata are plausible RNA-world enzymes that may perform ligation or cleavage. Limited to these operations, we construct RNA automata of increasing complexity; from the Finite Automaton (RNA-FA) to the Turing Machine equivalent 2-stack PDA (RNA-2PDA) and the universal RNA-UPDA. For each automaton we show how […]

  • On the problem of biological form
    by cxdig on August 19, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Marta Linde-Medina Theory in Biosciences volume 139, pages 299–308 (2020)   Embryonic development, which inspired the first theories of biological form, was eventually excluded from the conceptual framework of the Modern Synthesis as irrelevant. A major question during the last decades has centred on understanding whether new advances in developmental biology are compatible with the standard view or whether they compel a new theory. Here, I argue that the answer to this question depends […]

  • Why are U.S. Parties So Polarized? A “Satisficing” Dynamical Model
    by cxdig on August 18, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    Why are U.S. Parties So Polarized? A "Satisficing" Dynamical ModelVicky Chuqiao Yang, Daniel M. Abrams, Georgia Kernell, Adilson E. Motter   Since the 1960s, Democrats and Republicans in U.S. Congress have taken increasingly polarized positions, while the public's policy positions have remained centrist and moderate. We explain this apparent contradiction by developing a dynamical model that predicts ideological positions of political parties. Our approach tackles the challenge of […]

  • The Paradigm of Social Complexity: An Alternative Way of Understanding Societies and their Economies by Gonzalo Castañeda
    by cxdig on August 18, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    With the recent developments in computing technologies and the thriving research scene in Complexity Science, economists and other social scientists have become aware of a more flexible and promising alternative for modelling socioeconomic systems; one that, in contrast with neoclassical economics, advocates for the realism of the assumptions, the importance of context and culture, the heterogeneity of agents (individuals or organisations), and the bounded rationality of individuals who behave […]

  • Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live
    by cxdig on August 8, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    A piercing and scientifically grounded look at the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic and how it will change the way we live. Apollo's Arrow offers a riveting account of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as it swept through American society in 2020, and of how the recovery will unfold in the coming years. Drawing on momentous (yet dimly remembered) historical epidemics, contemporary analyses, and cutting-edge research from a range of scientific disciplines, bestselling author, […]

  • Here’s How to Crush the Virus Until Vaccines Arrive
    by cxdig on August 7, 2020 at 11:00 pm

    To save lives, and save the economy, we need another lockdown. Source:

  • A COVID-19 Vaccine Reality Check
    by cxdig on August 7, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    So much hope is riding on a breakthrough, but a vaccine is only the beginning of the end. Source:

  • Rise of the Self-Replicators – Early Visions of Machines, AI and Robots That Can Reproduce and Evolve
    by cxdig on August 6, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    Taylor, Tim, Dorin, Alan   Is it possible to design robots and other machines that can reproduce and evolve? And, if so, what are the implications: for the machines, for ourselves, for our environment, and for the future of life on Earth and elsewhere?In this book the authors provide a chronological survey and comprehensive archive of the early history of thought about machine self-reproduction and evolution. They discuss contributions from philosophy, science fiction, science and engineering, […]

  • CCS2020 Conference on Complex Systems 2020, online 7-12 December.
    by cxdig on August 3, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    CCS2020 is the flagship conference promoted by the Complex Systems Society. It brings under one umbrella a wide variety of leading researchers, practitioners and stakeholders with a direct interest in Complex Systems, from Physics to Computer Science, Biology, Social Sciences, Economics, and Technological and Communication Networks, among others.   Call for Satellites deadline: September 20th Abstract submission deadline: October 10th   Source:

  • Classical information theory of networks
    by cxdig on August 1, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    Filippo Radicchi, Dmitri Krioukov, Harrison Hartle and Ginestra Bianconi Journal of Physics: Complexity, Volume 1, Number 2   Existing information-theoretic frameworks based on maximum entropy network ensembles are not able to explain the emergence of heterogeneity in complex networks. Here, we fill this gap of knowledge by developing a classical framework for networks based on finding an optimal trade-off between the information content of a compressed representation of the ensemble and the […]

  • GDP Is the Wrong Tool for Measuring What Matters
    by cxdig on August 1, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Joseph E. Stiglitz   Gross domestic product (GDP) is almost universally used to gauge how well a society is doing. In fact, it is a measure of market activity—no more. The Great Recession of 2008–2009 highlighted the need for better ways to measure the well-being of an economy and society, as well as its sustainability—whether or not good times can last. Over the past decade leading scholars have devised a broad set of measures to help steer societies toward the futures their citizens […]

  • How Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems Work
    by cxdig on August 1, 2020 at 1:08 am

    His incompleteness theorems destroyed the search for a mathematical theory of everything. Nearly a century later, we’re still coming to grips with the consequences. Source:

  • Coherent dynamics enhanced by uncorrelated noise
    by cxdig on July 31, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    Zachary G. Nicolaou, Michael Sebek, István Z. Kiss, and Adilson E. Motter Phys. Rev. Lett.   Synchronization is a widespread phenomenon observed in physical, biological, and social networks, which persists even under the influence of strong noise. Previous research on oscillators subject to common noise has shown that noise can actually facilitate synchronization, as correlations in the dynamics can be inherited from the noise itself. However, in many spatially distributed networks, such as […]

  • Compressing Phase Space Detects State Changes in Nonlinear Dynamical Systems
    by cxdig on July 31, 2020 at 3:09 am

    Valeria d’Andrea and Manlio De Domenico Complexity Volume 2020 Article ID 8650742   Equations governing the nonlinear dynamics of complex systems are usually unknown, and indirect methods are used to reconstruct their manifolds. In turn, they depend on embedding parameters requiring other methods and long temporal sequences to be accurate. In this paper, we show that an optimal reconstruction can be achieved by lossless compression of system’s time course, providing a self-consistent […]

  • Predicting the number of viable autocatalytic sets in systems that combine catalysis and inhibition
    by cxdig on July 31, 2020 at 12:59 am

    Stuart Kauffman, Mike Steel   The emergence of self-sustaining autocatalytic networks in chemical reaction systems has been studied as a possible mechanism for modelling how living systems first arose. It has been known for several decades that such networks will form within systems of polymers (under cleavage and ligation reactions) under a simple process of random catalysis, and this process has since been mathematically analysed. In this paper, we provide an exact expression for the […]

  • NEAT Project
    by Daniel Junghans on July 21, 2020 at 9:32 pm

    Link to my blog Introduction I began my current research project with a simple question: can I evolve an artificial neural network (ANN) to accurately predict the closing price of a stock? Artificial Neural Networks ANNs are inspired by biological brains and are made up of densely interconnected nodes. Instead of neurons and synapses, ANNs utilize artificial neurons (nodes) and connections. Figure 1 Visual representation of an artificial neural network. The circles represent nodes and the lines […]

  • Nitty Gritty on Professional Jekyll Posts
    by Matthew Andres Moreno on July 20, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    This material is cross-posted from my personal blog. You can find the original version here. Class blogs have grown into a core tool of the educational experiences, like the CSE 491 Advanced C++ Seminar and this summer’s WAVES Workshop, I’ve had the pleasure of facilitating. I typically have students contribute to the blog as part of their own learning experience. I love this format because it helps, develop students’ professional communication skills, provide students a sense of […]

  • Evolutionary AI site with expert podcasts and a COVID-19 intervention demo
    by Danielle Whittaker on July 15, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    The Evolutionary AI research group at Sentient has moved to Cognizant Technology Solutions. The group includes several current and past BEACONites, including Risto Miikkulainen, Elliot Meyerson, Jason Liang, and Santiago Gonzalez, and past interns Aditya Rawal and Khaled Talukder.  The group … Continue reading →

  • Life Hacks RE: Too Much Zoom & Too Much Email
    by Matthew Andres Moreno on July 2, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    This material is cross-posted from my personal blog. You can find the original version here. 🔗 You’ve Got Mail! Ah, email. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. None. Zero ways. Pick an academic of your choice with a twitter. Search their username and the word “email.” Enjoy the snarky 2 to 7+ tweets that appear. I’ve curated a few of my favorites here. 🔗 A Tale as Old as Time Itself Or, at least, email itself. Don Knuth — of complexity analysis & LaTeX fame — […]

  • Engaging Galápagos Students and Educators in Evolutionary Activities
    by Danielle Whittaker on May 20, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    This blog post is by Madison Bovee, Alexa Warwick, John G. Phillips, Brant G. Miller, and Christine Parent. Evolutionary research is conducted across the globe, yet no location may be as emblematic as the Galápagos Islands (Figure 1). Made famous by … Continue reading →

  • Logistical Lessons Learned about Administering Workshop Applications
    by Matthew Andres Moreno on May 20, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    This material is cross-posted from my personal blog. You can find the original version here. We’re in the process of wrapping up participant selection for our upcoming Workshop for Avida-ED Software Development (WAVES). This workshop will team up early-career participants with mentors to help build the software foundation that will underly the next version of Avida-ED (as well as more broadly supporting web-based scientific apps and digital evolution research). So far, almost everything’s […]

  • Social distancing socials in the Devolab
    by Alex Lalejini on March 24, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    👋 We’re now almost two weeks into our lab’s full-scale social distancing efforts. On March 11th, Michigan State University suspended in-person classes and shifted all coursework to virtual instruction. Around the same time, our lab shifted to working remotely and began conducting all meetings virtually over Zoom. So, we’ve all been hunkered down in our apartments/homes slowly succumbing to cabin fever. Fortunately, we study digital critters, so our work is conducive to working remotely […]

  • An 11th Way to Convert a char to a string in C++
    by Matthew Andres Moreno on February 26, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    This material is cross-posted from my personal blog. You can find the original version here. If by some miracle of search engine optimization you landed here first just googling around for a C++ code snippet or for some reason you found Techie Delight’s listicle 10 ways to convert a char to a string in C++ inadequately delightful, here’s your payoff right out of the gate. std::string res{'c'}; Great! You’re free to go… 🔗 or: How I Learned that Braces and Parens Aren’t the Same […]

  • So You Want To Retrieve and Extract .tar.gz Archives with Empscripten
    by Matthew Andres Moreno on January 27, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    This material is cross-posted from my personal blog. You can find the original version here. As part of ongoing work with my scientific project’s cool cool web interface, I spent this afternoon and evening figuring out how to download configuration and data files into the browser. I figured I should share what I learned! Emscripten’s nifty file packaging, which prepares elements of the browser file system at compile time and packages it with your “executable,” had been my go to for a […]

  • Profiling Empirical’s BitSet and BitVector
    by Santiago Rodriguez-Papa on January 24, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Our lab’s software project, the Empirical C++ Library, provides two containers implemented for dealing with data at the bit level: BitSet and BitVector. emp::BitSet (emp is Empirical’s namespace) is—at its core—a reimplementation of std::bitset with some additional features, such as support for bitmagic bitwise operations and convenient accessors and modifiers. emp::BitSet and std::bitset are both fixed-sized containers. emp::BitVector provides many of the same features as emp::BitSet […]

  • Anti-Peacocking [January 21, 2020]
    by Tom Barbalet on January 22, 2020 at 4:04 am

    Anton hit a roadblock with the Moveable Feast Machine due to some GPU compiler issues. Tom has been working on a project called libdeep to answer some interesting questions about how to make software that is useful for a variety of folks. They digress into the Roomba. How good is machine learning and why hasn't artificial life done just as well? What is still yet to be found useful in the field. Anton wants to understand more about the ApeSDK. Tom introduces Ecosim (after the recording Tom […]

  • Evaluating Function Dispatch Methods in SignalGP
    by Matthew Andres Moreno on December 17, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    This material is cross-posted from my personal blog. You can find the original version here. 🔗 Introduction Way back before we both joined the halfway-to-fifty club, fellow-DEVOLAB student Alexander Lalejini started developing an event-driven genetic programming system called SignalGP. His work aims to enable practitioners to better evolve agents that exhibit responsiveness to their surroundings — changing conditions in their environment & messages from other agents. The stock […]

  • So You Want a vector of Uninitialized Elements?
    by Matthew Andres Moreno on December 13, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    This material is cross-posted from my personal blog. You can find the original version here. In ongoing work to parallelize evolution-of-multicellularity research software, we want to interface the cleverly-named serialization framework cereal with the matter-of-factly named Message Passing Interface. The basic idea is to take C++ objects, use cereal to turn them into bitstreams (plain Jane 0’s and 1’s), and then use MPI to send the bitstreams between compute nodes. However, the cereal […]

  • How Claire from the BA test kitchen made me rethink our scientific role models
    by Danielle Whittaker on December 11, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    This blog post is by MSU faculty member Arend Hintze. I love making stuff, let it be wood crafting or building cosplay Halloween costumes for my kids. However, I also like to do things the right way.  Consequently, I have … Continue reading →

  • Biota [December 8, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on December 8, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Tom provides a footnote to Biota.

  • Goodman Extends BEACON’s Collaborations in China
    by Danielle Whittaker on November 4, 2019 at 8:00 am

    This post is by BEACON’s Executive Director Erik Goodman. On Oct. 19, 2019, I left East Lansing for China, with stops in Shantou, Guangzhou and Shanghai. I received a warm and wonderful reception everywhere I went, in spite of tariffs, … Continue reading →

  • Using lessons from Facebook and fence-building to understand the evolution of deadly bacteria
    by Danielle Whittaker on October 28, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    This blog post is by University of Idaho graduate student Clinton Elg. Evolution of a Deadly Bacteria Vibrio cholerae is bacteria that resides in water and causes deadly cholera disease. While areas of the world with functional sewage and potable … Continue reading →

  • An Instinct for Truth: a new book by BEACON co-founder Robert T. Pennock
    by Danielle Whittaker on October 11, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Robert T. Pennock, a BEACON co-founder and co-PI, has just published a new book. An Instinct for Truth: Curiosity and the Moral Character of Science is an exploration of the scientific mindset—such character virtues as curiosity, veracity, attentiveness, and humility to evidence—and … Continue reading →

  • BEACON alum Wendy Smythe receives AISES Professional of the Year award
    by Danielle Whittaker on September 5, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Dr. Wendy Smythe, former BEACON Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2016-2018) received the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Professional of the Year Award.  Wendy Smythe, now a tenure track assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), received the AISES award … Continue reading →

  • The evolution of academic posters: from Poster 1.0 to Better Poster 2.0 to Hybrid Poster 1.5
    by Joel Slade on September 1, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    By: Natalie Vande Pol (PhD Candidate, Michigan State University) This week marks the start of my 6th year as a PhD student in the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics program at Michigan State University. I have been extremely fortunate to attend a … Continue reading →

  • Nerd Obsessive Enterprises [August 9, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on August 10, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Anton has been porting Movable Feast Machine to the GPU. They discuss work waivers. Tom discusses what an iPhone app means. How about Patreon? Anton and Tom finish the podcast talking about Kickstarters too.

  • Creating the Surroundings [August 5, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on August 6, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Tom welcomes back on Dr. Bruce Damer. Tom asks for Bruce's thoughts on the Wikipedia situation. Bruce talks about the Biota Institute in understanding the origin of life and a new company, Epsilonics. They discuss Tom Ray's criticism of artificial life for doing open ended simulation. What has Deepak Chopra provided in feedback to Bruce? Tom raises the idea that emergent complexity is the panacea for the media-centric world. Bruce talks about his responsibility to the issues impacting the […]

  • BEACON Team wins Best Paper Award in Evolutionary Machine Learning Track at GECCO 2019
    by Danielle Whittaker on July 31, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Congratulations to BEACONites Zhichao Lu, Ian Whalen, Vishnu Boddeti, Yashesh Dhebar, Kalyanmoy Deb, Erik Goodman, and Wolfgang Banzhaf! Their paper “NSGA-Net: Neural Architecture Search using Multi-Objective Genetic Algorithm” won the Best Paper Award in the Evolutionary Machine Learning track at GECCO 2019 in … Continue reading →

  • Galapagotchi with Gerald de Jong [July 6, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on July 6, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Gerald de Jong has been in and out of creating simulations over the past eight years but he's returned to work on Galapagotchi. Tom tries very hard to create distinctions between springs and tensegrity structures but Gerald isn't having any of it. Gerald gives a definition of Galapagotchi. How have Gerald's thoughts changed about artificial life in the past eight years? What's the distinction between water and land?

  • Moveable Fiesta [June 28, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on June 29, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Tom welcomes on Professor David Ackley who introduces his interests in artificial life and how he developed Evolutionary Reinforcement Learning. Can this work map back into biology? What does it take to get this kind of cross disciplinary collaboration? Tom asks about Professor Ackley's motivation to put so much information on YouTube. How is this different to publicly accessible papers? Does it bring students to the field? Professor Ackley talks about the vision of a new computer architecture: […]

  • Genome Hackers – a near-peer, interdisciplinary summer program for high school girls
    by Joel Slade on June 19, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    By: Cindy Yeh, Graduate Student, (Dunham Lab, Genome Sciences), University of Washington Only 26% of the computing professional workforce is made of women, less than 10% of whom are women of color ( This is in contrast to the gender … Continue reading →

  • Veritable Feast [June 7, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on June 8, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Anton returns to talk about Lenia, David H. Ackley's Movable Feast Machine Tom and Anton do a deep dive into the many flavors of parallelism Tom has used with Noble Ape. Anton also likes GPU programming. If you would like to be on a Biota podcast, please get in contact with Tom - barbalet at the email address noted.

  • GenePool Revisited [May 25, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on May 26, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Tom Barbalet welcomes back Jeffrey Ventrella to talk about his ongoing projects, GenePool and Wiggle Planet, with longtime co-developer, Brian Dodd. They talk about open source and Jeffrey's other projects: a book on fractal curves and taking artificial life to the traditional art world.

  • Surviving Notability, Simulation as a Service and Self-Replicating Steam Engines [May 19, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on May 19, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Tom Barbalet welcomes back Tim Taylor to talk about how we communicate on the field of artificial life. They also discuss Tim's ideas on simulation as a service and Tim's new book on self-replicating machine discussions through history.

  • Deletions, Simulation as a Service, ApeScript and the Curse [May 13, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on May 14, 2019 at 5:22 am

    Tom Barbalet talks with Anton Mikhailov on a variety of topics. Will they continue the podcast after the meeting? Time will tell.

  • The Secret Life of Simulators and Bees [April 26, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on April 27, 2019 at 5:22 am

    Tom Barbalet talks with Anton Mikhailov about his bee simulation, moving it open source and some of the historical pitfalls in making artificial life your day job. If you would like to ask further questions and topics for Anton and Tom, please email barbalet at gmail dot com. We'd really appreciate the topics and feedback.

  • Ape Reality Simulcast 157. Noble Ape Seminar at the Beacon Center, Michigan State University [July 27, 2012]
    by Tom Barbalet on April 17, 2019 at 5:22 am

    This is a talk given primarily to biologists on the Noble Ape Simulation. The academics who don't introduce themselves are Prof. Fred Dyer, Dr. Aaron Wagner and Prof. Robert Pennock.

  • Long Funk Simulcast 51. A Shared Language in [March 31, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on April 1, 2019 at 3:14 am

    Tom discusses the background and potential of Noble Ape in the cloud with JSON.

  • Long Funk Simulcast 45. Bob Mottram and Leeds [February 12, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on February 13, 2019 at 4:40 am

    Noble Ape banter is a real luxury.

  • Restarting the Biota Podcast [January 26, 2019]
    by Tom Barbalet on January 26, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    Tom Barbalet is interested in restarting the podcast but he needs your help. barbalet at gmail dot com for more!

  • Announcement: is the New Location For the Podcast
    by Tom Barbalet on August 5, 2018 at 5:40 am

    The Biota Podcast's home has moved to

  • Simulcast: Early Morning Weather Development [April 1, 2018]
    by Tom Barbalet on April 1, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Tom Barbalet, the creator of Noble Ape, talks about what he's working on at 3am.

  • Simulcast Long Funk 1. Introducing the Format [December 9, 2017]
    by Tom Barbalet on December 10, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Tom introduces the podcast by discussing his many podcasts and what he has learnt from all these recording. To subscribe go to

  • Simulcast: Tom Barbalet and Bruce Damer Have a Chat [May 3, 2015]
    by Tom Barbalet on May 4, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Originally intended for Bruce's Levity Zone podcast, the following recording seemed a better fit for those who were artificial life savvy. Bruce concludes the conversation with how he may be doing something with deep computation in the future after all.'

  • The VIDA Awards enter a new era
    by VIDA on February 25, 2015 at 9:51 am

    After 16 years, the competition will come to an end. New exhibitions will showcase the latest trends in art and new media

  • Simulcast: Crime Fighting Noble Apes [February 02, 2015]
    by Tom Barbalet on February 3, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Tom Barbalet presents a new project using Noble Ape to provide analysis of murder crimes with agent and language simulation.

  • The Iron Ring by Cecilia Jonsson, in ebook
    by VIDA on January 27, 2015 at 9:30 am

    The The Iron Ring projectby the artist Cecilia Jonsson, winner of Second Prize at VIDA 16.0, tells a long, labyrinthine story which can be followed in a publication produced by the V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media centre in Rotterdam. The idea arose during a residency at V2 in the summer of 2013. The Iron

  • Benjamin Grosser: the quantification of our social life
    by VIDA on January 20, 2015 at 9:30 am

    In an article published in the academic journal Computational Culture, the artist Benjamin Grosser, winner of First Prize at VIDA 16.0 for his Computers Watching Movies project (2013), analyses the way in which the social media site Facebook encourages its users’ activities through the quantification of their actions. Under the title “What Do Metrics Want?

  • Koli, art and the environment in Finland
    by VIDA on January 13, 2015 at 9:30 am

    The KOLI Environmental Art Festival has announced an open call for the submission of artistic projects to 31 January 2015. The festival, held in Koli National Park in Finland, focuses on the presentation of artistic works in a natural setting, establishing a creative and environmentally-friendly dialogue. The event will be taking place in summer 2015,

  • Announcement: is the New Location For the Podcast
    by Tom Barbalet on January 4, 2015 at 5:40 am

    The Biota Podcast's home has moved to

  • Roger Malina: “art leads to new science”
    by VIDA on December 22, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Roger F. Malina is an astronomer and editor. He is a Distinguished Professor of Art and Technology at the University of Texas, Dallas where he is developing Art-Science R and D and Experimental publishing research. Former Director of the Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence. His specialty is in space instrumentation; he was the Principal

  • “Cultivos” by Gilberto Esparza: biology and robotics with a critical vision
    by VIDA on December 9, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Gilberto Esparza, prizewinner at VIDA 9.0 and VIDA 13.0, is presenting his individual exhibition Cultivos at the Espacio Fundación Telefónica de Lima in Peru

  • Kerstin Ergenzinger: Drawing defines time and space
    by VIDA on December 2, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Until 8 February 2015 the Kunstmuseum Bonnis hosting the exhibition Zeich[n]enby artist Kerstin Ergenzinger

  • Telefónica R&D Incentives Prize
    by VIDA on November 26, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    The VIDA Awards rank among the most important distinctions in the field of new media art. Created in 1999 by Fundación Telefónica, they are currently the only prizes dedicated to art and artificial life. Over the past 15 years, VIDA has consolidated its firm commitment to defining and developing new contemporary artistic practices in the context of

  • Incentives for Production Prizes
    by VIDA on November 26, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    The VIDA Awards rank among the most important distinctions in the field of new media art. Created in 1999 by Fundación Telefónica, they are currently the only prizes dedicated to art and artificial life. Over the past 15 years, VIDA has consolidated its firm commitment to defining and developing new contemporary artistic practices in the context of