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  • Robots are not immune to bias and injustice
    by cxdig on November 29, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    Ayanna Howard and Monroe Kennedy III Science Robotics 18 Nov 2020:Vol. 5, Issue 48, eabf1364DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.abf1364 Human-human social constructs drive human-robot interactions; robotics is thus intertwined with issues surrounding inequity and racial injustices. Read the full article at:

  • Meet GPT-3. It Has Learned to Code (and Blog and Argue)
    by cxdig on November 28, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    The latest natural-language system generates tweets, pens poetry, summarizes emails, answers trivia questions, translates languages and even writes its own computer programs. Read the full article at:

  • NERCCS 2021: Fourth Northeast Regional Conference on Complex Systems
    by cxdig on November 27, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    NERCCS 2021: The Fourth Northeast Regional Conference on Complex Systems will follow the success of the previous NERCCS conferences to promote the emerging venue of interdisciplinary scholarly exchange for complex systems researchers in the Northeast U.S. region (and beyond) to share their research outcomes through presentations and online publications, network with their peers, and promote interdisciplinary collaboration and the growth of the research community. NERCCS will particularly focus […]

  • Urban sensing as a random search process
    by cxdig on November 23, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Kevin O’Keeffe, Paolo Santi, Brandon Wang, CarloRatti Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its ApplicationsVolume 562, 15 January 2021, 125307 We study a new random search process: the taxi drive. The motivation for this process comes from urban sensing in which sensors are mounted on moving vehicles such as taxis, allowing urban environments to be opportunistically monitored. Inspired by the movements of real taxis, the taxi drive is composed of both random and regular parts: passengers are […]

  • Adapting to the challenges of warming | Science
    by cxdig on November 22, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    Steven C. Sherwood Science 13 Nov 2020:Vol. 370, Issue 6518, pp. 782-783Heat extremes on Earth have reached a disturbing new level in recent years. The July 2020 temperatures soared across Siberia and reached a record-breaking 38°C inside the Arctic Circle, continuing a line of record heat events globally. “Event attribution” calculations, which are an endeavor to apportion blame for extreme events through quantitative modeling, suggest that some events would have been nearly impossible […]

  • Mobility network models of COVID-19 explain inequities and inform reopening
    by cxdig on November 21, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    Serina Chang, Emma Pierson, Pang Wei Koh, Jaline Gerardin, Beth Redbird, David Grusky & Jure Leskovec Nature (2020)The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed human mobility patterns, necessitating epidemiological models which capture the effects of changes in mobility on virus spread1. We introduce a metapopulation SEIR model that integrates fine-grained, dynamic mobility networks to simulate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in 10 of the largest US metropolitan statistical areas. Derived from […]

  • Scientists Find Vital Genes Evolving in Genome’s Junkyard
    by cxdig on November 21, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Even genes essential for life can be caught in an evolutionary arms race that forces them to change or be replaced. Read the full article at:

  • Heterogeneity in social and epidemiological factors determines the risk of measles outbreaks
    by cxdig on November 20, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    Paolo Bosetti, Piero Poletti, Massimo Stella, Bruno Lepri, Stefano Merler, and Manlio De DomenicoPNAS The recent increase in large-scale migration trends generates several concerns about public health in destination countries, especially in the presence of massive incoming human flows from countries with a disrupted healthcare system. Here, we analyze the flow of 3.5 M Syrian refugees toward Turkey to quantify the risk of measles outbreaks. Our results suggest that heterogeneity in immunity, […]

  • Engineering self-organized criticality in living cells
    by cxdig on November 20, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Blai Vidiella, Antoni Guillamon, Josep Sardanyés, Victor Maull, Nuria Conde-Pueyo, Ricard Solé Complex dynamical fluctuations, from molecular noise within cells, collective intelligence, brain dynamics or computer traffic have been shown to display noisy behaviour consistent with a critical state between order and disorder. Living close to the critical point can have a number of adaptive advantages and it has been conjectured that evolution could select (and even tend to) these critical […]

  • Benford’s law and the 2020 US presidential election: nothing out of the ordinary
    by cxdig on November 20, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    You may have noticed that not everyone agrees with the outcome of the 2020 US Presidential election. But looking beyond the ALL CAPS TWEETS of Donald Trump, one claim circulating on social media is that some of Joe Biden’s votes look suspicious because they don’t adhere to “Benford’s law “.So do the claims stack up? In short, no – but the reasons are interesting. Read the full article at:

  • Geometry Reveals How the World Is Assembled From Cubes
    by cxdig on November 20, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    An exercise in pure mathematics has led to a wide-ranging theory of how the world comes together. Read the full article at:

  • The Computational Boundary of a “Self”: Developmental Bioelectricity Drives Multicellularity and Scale-Free Cognition
    by cxdig on November 18, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Michael Levin Front. PsycholAll epistemic agents physically consist of parts that must somehow comprise an integrated cognitive self. Biological individuals consist of subunits (organs, cells, and molecular networks) that are themselves complex and competent in their own native contexts. How do coherent biological Individuals result from the activity of smaller sub-agents? To understand the evolution and function of metazoan creatures’ bodies and minds, it is essential to conceptually […]

  • Conference on Complex Systems 2020 – online
    by cxdig on November 17, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    We are looking up to a very exciting Conference.There are 20 world-class famous plenary/invited speakers.There are over 325 accepted presentations, in oral, lightning, and poster presentations.Over 55 countries are represented, more than any previous CCS meeting. A round table discussion on COVID-19 is currently being planned with well-known participants.Representatives from Journals of the European Physical Society and Complexitywill present information to all prospective authors. On Friday […]

  • Turing: The Great Unknown
    by cxdig on November 17, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Aurea Anguera, Juan A. Lara, David Lizcano, María-Aurora Martínez, Juan Pazos & F. David de la Peña Foundations of Science volume 25, pages1203–1225(2020)Turing was an exceptional mathematician with a peculiar and fascinating personality and yet he remains largely unknown. In fact, he might be considered the father of the von Neumann architecture computer and the pioneer of Artificial Intelligence. And all thanks to his machines; both those that Church called “Turing machines” […]

  • A Class of Models with the Potential to Represent Fundamental Physics
    by cxdig on November 15, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    S. Wolfram, “A Class of Models with the Potential to Represent Fundamental Physics,” Complex Systems, 29(2), 2020 pp. 107–536. class of models intended to be as minimal and structureless as possible is introduced. Even in cases with simple rules, rich and complex behavior is found to emerge, and striking correspondences to some important core known features of fundamental physics are seen, suggesting the possibility that the models may […]

  • An Agent-Based Model of COVID-19
    by cxdig on November 13, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    Many simple models of disease spread assume a homogeneous population (or population groups) with a uniform basic reproduction number ( R 0 ). The goal here is to develop and analyze an agent-based model of disease that models: (1) variability of interaction rates between agents; and (2) the structure of the in-person contact network.C. Wolfram, “An Agent-Based Model of COVID-19,” Complex Systems, 29(1), 2020 pp. 87–105. 

  • Max-Plus Generalization of Conway’s Game of Life
    by cxdig on November 12, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    We propose a max-plus equation that includes Conway’s Game of Life (GoL) as a special case. There are some special solutions to the equation that include and unify solutions to GoL. Moreover, the multivalue extension of GoL is derived from the equation, and the behavior of solutions is discussed.K. Sakata, Y. Tanaka and D. Takahashi, “Max-Plus Generalization of Conway’s Game of Life,” Complex Systems, 29(1), 2020 pp. 63–76. 

  • What Is a Particle?
    by cxdig on November 12, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    It has been thought of as many things: a pointlike object, an excitation of a field, a speck of pure math that has cut into reality. But never has physicists’ conception of a particle changed more than it is changing now.Read the full article at:

  • : Making connections- brains and other complex systems
    by cxdig on November 11, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    We're delighted to announce the start of a new, online seminar series 'Making connections- brains and other complex systems', which is not specifically a CNN activity but we believe will be of interest to many on this list. The series will cover brain networks and other complex systems, and aims to bring together researchers from a range of fields, including systems neuroscience, psychiatry, genomics, computer science, machine learning and physics. We are starting off with a fantastic line up […]

  • Coronavirus: The Swiss Cheese Strategy, by Tomas Pueyo
    by cxdig on November 10, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    How the US and the EU failed to control the virus, and how comparable countries succeeded. How you can make sense of all the necessary measures with one simple idea. Why the West’s testing and contact tracing is largely useless — and what they can do about it. The questions that journalists and the People must ask politicians to keep them accountable. How you can stop the virus in your own community, without the need of your government.

  • Navigating the landscape of multiplayer games
    by cxdig on November 10, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    Shayegan Omidshafiei, Karl Tuyls, Wojciech M. Czarnecki, Francisco C. Santos, Mark Rowland, Jerome Connor, Daniel Hennes, Paul Muller, Julien Pérolat, Bart De Vylder, Audrunas Gruslys & Rémi Munos Nature Communications volume 11, Article number: 5603 (2020) Multiplayer games have long been used as testbeds in artificial intelligence research, aptly referred to as the Drosophila of artificial intelligence. Traditionally, researchers have focused on using well-known games to build […]

  • Patterns of ties in problem-solving networks and their dynamic properties
    by cxdig on November 6, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    Dan Braha Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 18137 (2020)  Understanding the functions carried out by network subgraphs is important to revealing the organizing principles of diverse complex networks. Here, we study this question in the context of collaborative problem-solving, which is central to a variety of domains from engineering and medicine to economics and social planning. We analyze the frequency of all three- and four-node subgraphs in diverse real problem-solving […]

  • The Manufacture of Political Echo Chambers by Follow Train Abuse on Twitter
    by cxdig on November 5, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Christopher Torres-Lugo, Kai-Cheng Yang, Filippo Menczer A growing body of evidence points to critical vulnerabilities of social media, such as the emergence of partisan echo chambers and the viral spread of misinformation. We show that these vulnerabilities are amplified by abusive behaviors associated with so-called ''follow trains'' on Twitter, in which long lists of like-minded accounts are mentioned for others to follow. This leads to the formation of highly dense and hierarchical echo […]

  • Social Trajectory Planning for Urban Autonomous Surface Vessels
    by cxdig on November 5, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Shinkyu Park; Michal Cap; Javier Alonso-Mora; Carlo Ratti; Daniela Rus IEEE Transactions on RoboticsIn this article, we propose a trajectory planning algorithm that enables autonomous surface vessels to perform socially compliant navigation in a city’s canal. The key idea behind the proposed algorithm is to adopt an optimal control formulation in which the deviation of movements of the autonomous vessel from nominal movements of human-operated vessels is penalized. Consequently, given a […]

  • How Do You Know When Society Is About to Fall Apart?
    by cxdig on November 5, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    “Civilizations are fragile, impermanent things,” Tainter writes. Nearly every one that has ever existed has also ceased to exist, yet “understanding disintegration has remained a distinctly minor concern in the social sciences.” It is only a mild overstatement to suggest that before Tainter, collapse was simply not a thing.

  • Shared Partisanship Dramatically Increases Social Tie Formation in a Twitter Field Experiment
    by cxdig on November 4, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    Mohsen Mosleh, Cameron Martel, Dean Eckles, David G. Rand   Americans are much more likely to be socially connected to co-partisans, both in daily life and on social media. But this observation does not necessarily mean that shared partisanship per se drives social tie formation, because partisanship is confounded with many other factors. Here, we test the causal effect of shared partisanship on the formation of social ties in a field experiment on Twitter. We created bot accounts that […]

  • Symmetry-Independent Stability Analysis of Synchronization Patterns
    by cxdig on November 4, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    Yuanzhao Zhang and Adilson E. Motter SIAM Rev., 62(4), 817–836.    The field of network synchronization has seen tremendous growth following the introduction of the master stability function (MSF) formalism, which enables the efficient stability analysis of synchronization in large oscillator networks. However, to make further progress we must overcome the limitations of this celebrated formalism, which focuses on global synchronization and requires both […]

  • Inferring evolutionary pathways and directed genotype networks of foodborne pathogens
    by cxdig on November 4, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Cliff OM, McLean N, Sintchenko V, Fair KM, Sorrell TC, Kauffman S, & Prokopenko, M. PLoS Comput Biol 16(10): e1008401   We study emergence and evolution of foodborne pathogens, and provide a new method for public health surveillance dealing with genetically diverse and spatiotemporally distributed epidemic scenarios. The proposed method interprets the surveillance data through genotype networks, and discovers how the most dominant strains of infection emerge and adapt. The approach allows […]

  • Exploring the Dynamic Organization of Random and Evolved Boolean Networks
    by cxdig on November 3, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Gianluca d’Addese, Salvatore Magrì, Roberto Serra, and Marco Villani Algorithms 2020, 13(11), 272   The properties of most systems composed of many interacting elements are neither determined by the topology of the interaction network alone, nor by the dynamical laws in isolation. Rather, they are the outcome of the interplay between topology and dynamics. In this paper, we consider four different types of systems with critical dynamic regime and with increasingly complex dynamical […]

  • The distribution of inhibitory neurons in the C. elegans connectome facilitates self-optimization of coordinated neural activity
    by cxdig on November 3, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    Alejandro Morales, Tom Froese   The nervous system of the nematode soil worm Caenorhabditis elegans exhibits remarkable complexity despite the worm's small size. A general challenge is to better understand the relationship between neural organization and neural activity at the system level, including the functional roles of inhibitory connections. Here we implemented an abstract simulation model of the C. elegans connectome that approximates the neurotransmitter identity of each neuron, and we […]

  • Assessing the risks of ‘infodemics’ in response to COVID-19 epidemics
    by cxdig on October 31, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Riccardo Gallotti, Francesco Valle, Nicola Castaldo, Pierluigi Sacco & Manlio De Domenico Nature Human Behaviour (2020)   During COVID-19, governments and the public are fighting not only a pandemic but also a co-evolving infodemic—the rapid and far-reaching spread of information of questionable quality. We analysed more than 100 million Twitter messages posted worldwide during the early stages of epidemic spread across countries (from 22 January to 10 March 2020) and classified the […]

  • The next-generation bots interfering with the US election
    by cxdig on October 30, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    Data scientist Emilio Ferrara tells Nature that fake social-media accounts are harder to detect than ever before. Source:

  • Multiple Resource Use Strategies and Resilience of a Socio-Ecosystem in a Natural Protected Area in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
    by cxdig on October 30, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Luis Guillermo García-Jácome, Eduardo García-Frapolli, Martha Bonilla-Moheno, Coral E. Rangel-Rivera, Mariana Benítez, and Gabriel Ramos-Fernández Front. Sustain. Food Syst., 28 October 2020   As the world faces unprecedented ecological and social changes, there is a need to better understand the complex dynamics of social-ecological systems (SES) and the mechanisms that underlie their resilience. In Mexico, Natural Protected Areas (NPAs) constitute complex SES as they are generally […]

  • Sky Highway Design for Dense Traffic
    by cxdig on October 27, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    Quan Quan, Mengxin Li   The number of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) continues to explode. Within the total spectrum of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operations, Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is also on the way. Dense air traffic is getting ever closer to us. Current research either focuses on traffic network design and route design for safety purpose or swarm control in open airspace to contain large volume of UAVs. In order to achieve a tradeoff between safety and volumes of UAVs, a sky highway […]

  • Isotopy and energy of physical networks
    by cxdig on October 27, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    Yanchen Liu, Nima Dehmamy & Albert-László Barabási Nature Physics (2020)   While the structural characteristics of a network are uniquely determined by its adjacency matrix in physical networks, such as the brain or the vascular system, the network’s three-dimensional layout also affects the system’s structure and function. We lack, however, the tools to distinguish physical networks with identical wiring but different geometrical layouts. To address this need, here we introduce […]

  • How Humans Judge Machines
    by cxdig on October 25, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    How Humans Judge Machines is a peer-reviewed book comparing people’s reactions to human and machine actions. Through dozens of experiments, it brings us closer to understanding when people judge humans and machines differently, and why. Source:

  • Capitalism After the Pandemic
    by cxdig on October 24, 2020 at 5:04 pm

    Mariana Mazzucato Foreign Affairs   After the 2008 financial crisis, governments across the world injected over $3 trillion into the financial system. The goal was to unfreeze credit markets and get the global economy working again. But instead of supporting the real economy—the part that involves the production of actual goods and services—the bulk of the aid ended up in the financial sector. Governments bailed out the big investment banks that had directly contributed to the crisis, and […]

  • CCS2018 Book of Abstracts
    by cxdig on October 23, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    This is the book of Abstracts from the 2018 Conference on Complex Systems held in Thessaloniki, Greece, 23-28 September, 2018.   With this DOI reference any abstract in the CCS2018 Conference can be referenced in other future publications, and easily located as a citation by any other scientists.    It is planned for CCS2020 to also publish the Book of Abstracts in the same way.   In order for your abstract to be included please note that it must […]

  • Visualization of dynamic structure in flocking behavior
    by cxdig on October 22, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Daichi Saito, Norihiro Maruyama, Yasuhiro Hashimoto & Takashi Ikegami Artificial Life and Robotics (2020)   The flock structures produced by individuals, e.g., animals, self-organize and change their complexity over time. Although flock structures are often characterized by the spatial alignment of each element, this study focuses on their dynamic and hierarchical nature, temporal variations, and meta-structures. In hierarchical systems, sometimes, the upper structure is unchanged, whereas […]

  • An experiment to inform universal basic income
    by cxdig on October 22, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    As income inequality and economic upheaval take center stage, is a guaranteed minimum income worth considering? Results from a two-year experiment in Finland offer clues. Source:

  • Networks 2021
    by cxdig on October 22, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Networks 2021: A Joint Sunbelt and NetSci Conference will take place in Washington D.C. on July 6-11, 2021. We expect this to be the largest networks conference ever held. It will combine the annual meeting of the International Network for Social Network Analysis (Sunbelt XLI), and the annual meeting of the Network Science Society (NetSci 2021). Source:

  • Rise of the Self-Replicators
    by cxdig on October 21, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    In Rise of the Self-Replicators we delve into the deep history of thought about machines, AI and robots that can reproduce and evolve. Although these might seem like very modern concepts, we show that people were thinking about them as far back as the mid-1600s and that the discussion gathered pace in the 1800s following the British Industrial Revolution and the publication of Darwin's On The Origin of Species. Behind all of the work we discuss lie two central questions: Is it possible to […]

  • Lessons from New Zealand’s COVID-19 outbreak response
    by cxdig on October 21, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Alexis Robert The Lancet   In the absence of a vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), or of highly effective pharmaceutical treatments for COVID-19, countries have implemented a large range of non-pharmaceutical interventions to control the spread of the virus.1 These interventions differ in their level of stringency (ie, the severity of the measures) and their ultimate objective (eg, prevent health systems being overwhelmed, suppress incidence to low levels, […]

  • Emergence of Organisms
    by cxdig on October 20, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Andrea Roli and Stuart A. Kauffman Entropy 2020, 22(10), 1163   Since early cybernetics studies by Wiener, Pask, and Ashby, the properties of living systems are subject to deep investigations. The goals of this endeavour are both understanding and building: abstract models and general principles are sought for describing organisms, their dynamics and their ability to produce adaptive behavior. This research has achieved prominent results in fields such as artificial intelligence and artificial […]

  • Cultural complexity and complexity evolution
    by cxdig on October 11, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Dwight Read, Claes Andersson   We review issues stemming from current models regarding the drivers of cultural complexity and cultural evolution. We disagree with the implication of the treadmill model, based on dual-inheritance theory, that population size is the driver of cultural complexity. The treadmill model reduces the evolution of artifact complexity, measured by the number of parts, to the statistical fact that individuals with high skills are more likely to be found in a larger […]

  • Beyond COVID-19: Network science and sustainable exit strategies
    by cxdig on October 11, 2020 at 12:27 am

    James Bell, Ginestra Bianconi, David Butler, Jon Crowcroft, Paul C.W Davies, Chris Hicks, Hyunju Kim, Istvan Z. Kiss, Francesco Di Lauro, Carsten Maple, Ayan Paul, Mikhail Prokopenko, Philip Tee, Sara I. Walker   On May 28th and 29th, a two day workshop was held virtually, facilitated by the Beyond Center at ASU and Moogsoft Inc. The aim was to bring together leading scientists with an interest in Network Science and Epidemiology to attempt to inform public policy in response to the COVID-19 […]

  • How Social Media Has Changed Society – Interview with Sinan Aral
    by cxdig on October 9, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    Last April, states began to sporadically reopen after weeks of being shut down. Georgia was among the first to begin the process, while some states didn’t start lifting restrictions until June. The uncoordinated reopening caused chaos, according to Sinan Aral, director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy. Why? Because Georgia pulled in hundreds of thousands of visitors from neighboring states - folks hoping to get a haircut or go bowling.Aral was tracking Americans on social media, […]

  • Planning for sustainable Open Streets in pandemic cities
    by cxdig on October 8, 2020 at 12:24 am

    Daniel Rhoads, Albert Solé-Ribalta, Marta C. González, Javier Borge-Holthoefer   In the wake of the pandemic, the inadequacy of urban sidewalks to comply with social distancing remains untackled in academy. Beyond isolated efforts (from sidewalk widenings to car-free Open Streets), there is a need for a large-scale and quantitative strategy for cities to handle the challenges that COVID-19 poses in the use of public space. The main obstacle is a generalized lack of publicly available data on […]

  • Moving in Sync Creates Surprising Social Bonds among People
    by cxdig on October 7, 2020 at 9:14 pm

    Dancing, rowing and even finger tapping in unison unleash powerful forces in the brain that drive good feelings Source:

  • The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020
    by cxdig on October 7, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna have discovered one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. Using these, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision. This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true. Source:

  • 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