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  • Sludge: What Stops Us from Getting Things Done and What to Do about It, by Sunstein, Cass R.
    by cxdig on February 25, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    How we became so burdened by red tape and unnecessary paperwork, and why we must do better.We've all had to fight our way through administrative sludge--filling out complicated online forms, mailing in paperwork, standing in line at the motor vehicle registry. This kind of red tape is a nuisance, but, as Cass Sunstein shows in Sludge, it can also also impair health, reduce growth, entrench poverty, and exacerbate inequality. Confronted by sludge, people just give up--and lose a promised […]

  • Complex Systems Society Seminars
    by cxdig on February 25, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    We created a calendar to aggregate seminars and events from and for members of the Complex Systems Society.  Please share and subscribe. You can access it here, or in iCal format. If you would like to add events to this calendar, please send me an email.

  • Decentralization and regional convergence: Evidence from night‐time lights data
    by cxdig on February 24, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    Decentralization and regional convergence: Evidence from night‐time lights dataBibek Adhikari Saroj Dhital The proponents of decentralization argue that it improves economic growth, while critics say it increases regional inequality. The empirical evidence is mixed and based mostly on developed countries due to a lack of income data for lower administrative regions. We combine night‐lights data captured by satellites with a new database on decentralization derived from actual laws that are […]

  • César Hidalgo | How Humans Judge Machines | Talks at Google
    by cxdig on February 24, 2021 at 7:00 pmésar Hidalgo discusses his new book "How Humans Judge Machines", in which he compares people's reactions to actions performed by humans and machines. Using data collected in dozens of experiments, this book reveals the biases that permeate human-machine interactions.Are there conditions in which we judge machines unfairly? Is our judgment of machines affected by the moral dimensions of a scenario? Is […]

  • Entropy | Special Issue : What is Self-Organization?
    by cxdig on February 24, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    Many of us have used the notion of “self-organization” in our studies. What is it precisely, though? A constituent element could be, e.g., the emergence of non-trivial properties from comparatively simple rules. What would simple, non-trivial or complex emergence mean in this context? In this Special Issue, we invite viewpoints, perspectives, and applied considerations on questions regarding the notions of self-organization and complexity. Examples include: Routes: In how many different […]

  • Right and left, partisanship predicts (asymmetric) vulnerability to misinformation
    by cxdig on February 23, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    We analyze the relationship between partisanship, echo chambers, and vulnerability to online misinformation by studying news sharing behavior on Twitter. While our results confirm prior findings that online misinformation sharing is strongly correlated with right-leaning partisanship, we also uncover a similar, though weaker, trend among left-leaning users. Because of the correlation between a user’s partisanship and their position within a partisan echo chamber, these types of influence are […]

  • Complexity and the Social World: building on the legacy of Allen, Byrne, Stacey and Cilliers
    by cxdig on February 22, 2021 at 8:04 pm

    Online event 3rd March 2021, 12.30-14.00 GMT Complexity theory took off in the 1990s and four of the key people who shaped how these ideas were developed for application to the social world will be represented in this event. In this unique retrospective, we will explore how these four thinkers approached complexity thinking over long careers. Invited Speakers Peter Allen – Embracing ComplexityDavid Byrne – Complexity and the Social SciencesChris Mowles in the legacy of Ralph Stacey – […]

  • The Hard Lessons of Modeling the Coronavirus Pandemic
    by cxdig on February 14, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    In the fight against COVID-19, disease modelers have struggled with misunderstanding and misuse of their work. They have also come to realize how unready the state of modeling was for this pandemic. Read the full article at:

  • Be it resolved: The quest for true AI is one of the great existential risks of our time – Munk Debates Podcast 
    by cxdig on February 13, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    A novel written by artificial intelligence is shortlisted for a literary prize. Google software beats a human opponent at Go, one of the most complex board games in the world. Self-driving cars recognize images and then make decisions. These are just some of the extraordinary accomplishments based on artificial intelligence that we have witnessed in the past few years. But there are many scientists who are pushing for a more cautious approach to how we move forward on machine intelligence. They […]

  • Cognitive reflection correlates with behavior on Twitter
    by cxdig on February 12, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    Mohsen Mosleh, Gordon Pennycook, Antonio A. Arechar & David G. Rand Nature Communications volume 12, Article number: 921 (2021) We investigate the relationship between individual differences in cognitive reflection and behavior on the social media platform Twitter, using a convenience sample of N = 1,901 individuals from Prolific. We find that people who score higher on the Cognitive Reflection Test—a widely used measure of reflective thinking—were more discerning in their social […]

  • Unmasking the mask studies: why the effectiveness of surgical masks in preventing respiratory infections has been underestimated
    by cxdig on February 12, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    Pratyush K. Kollepara, Alexander F. Siegenfeld, Nassim N. Taleb, Yaneer Bar-YamFace masks have been widely used as a protective measure against COVID-19. However, pre-pandemic experimental studies have produced mixed results regarding their effectiveness against respiratory viruses, leading to confusion over whether masks protect the wearer, or only those with whom the wearer interacts. Such confusion may have contributed to organizations such as the WHO and CDC initially not recommending that […]

  • Juan Enriquez: How technology changes our sense of right and wrong
    by cxdig on February 12, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    What drives society's understanding of right and wrong? In this thought-provoking talk, futurist Juan Enriquez offers a historical outlook on what humanity once deemed acceptable -- from human sacrifice and public executions to slavery and eating meat -- and makes a surprising case that exponential advances in technology leads to more ethical behavior. Read the full article at:

  • Brain’s ‘Background Noise’ May Hold Clues to Persistent Mysteries
    by cxdig on February 12, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    By digging out signals hidden within the brain's electrical chatter, scientists are getting new insights into sleep, aging and more. Read the full article at:

  • Mechanism for Strong Chimeras
    by cxdig on February 11, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    Yuanzhao Zhang, Adilson E. Motter Chimera states have attracted significant attention as symmetry-broken states exhibiting the unexpected coexistence of coherence and incoherence. Despite the valuable insights gained from analyzing specific systems, an understanding of the general physical mechanism underlying the emergence of chimeras is still lacking. Here, we show that many stable chimeras arise because coherence in part of the system is sustained by incoherence in the rest of the system. […]

  • A wealth of discovery built on the Human Genome Project — by the numbers
    by cxdig on February 11, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    A new analysis traces the story of the draft genome’s impact on genomics since 2001, linking its effects on publications, drug approvals and understanding of disease. Read the full article at:

  • Variants v. Vaccines – Tomas Pueyo
    by cxdig on February 8, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    2021 promised to save us. The vaccines were finally here. It was a matter of time. Then B117 arrived, exploded in England, collapsed its healthcare system, and spread across the world. Each country is now in a race between new variants—the English one, the South African one, and the Brazilian one—and mass vaccinations to stop them. What will happen in your country? Will it be saved by vaccines? Or will it suffer like the UK a new wave of deaths? When will you get back to the new normal? To […]

  • Foundations of complexity economics
    by cxdig on February 7, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    W. Brian Arthur Nature Reviews Physics volume 3, pages136–145(2021) Conventional, neoclassical economics assumes perfectly rational agents (firms, consumers, investors) who face well-defined problems and arrive at optimal behaviour consistent with — in equilibrium with — the overall outcome caused by this behaviour. This rational, equilibrium system produces an elegant economics, but is restrictive and often unrealistic. Complexity economics relaxes these assumptions. It assumes that […]

  • Proceedings | COMPLEX NETWORKS 2020
    by cxdig on February 5, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    Read the full two volume proceedings at:

  • You’re Definitely Wrong, Maybe: Correction Style Has Minimal Effect on Corrections of Misinformation Online
    by cxdig on February 4, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    Cameron Martel, Mohsen Mosleh, and David G. Rand Media and Communication  Vol 9, No 1 (2021): Dark Participation in Online Communication: The World of the Wicked Web How can online communication most effectively respond to misinformation posted on social media? Recent studies examining the content of corrective messages provide mixed results—several studies suggest that politer, hedged messages may increase engagement with corrections, while others favor direct […]

  • Scriptinformatics: Extended Phenetic Approach to Script Evolution, by Gábor Hosszú
    by cxdig on February 4, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    Scriptinformatics, in other words, scriptological informatics or computational scriptology, as a branch of applied computer science (informatics), deals with the investigation concerning the evolution of graphemes in various scripts and with the exploration of relationships between scripts, where the scripts could be any sequence of symbols of cultural origin, such as historical writing systems or urban graffiti. In a scriptinformatic research, the machine learning, artificial intelligence and […]

  • Sean Carroll’s Mindscape: Michael Levin on Growth, Form, Information, and the Self
    by cxdig on February 3, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    Sean Carroll talks with biologist Michael Levin about how a combination of genetic information and physical constraints shape an organism. Listen at:

  • The Science of Science 1, Wang, Dashun, Barabási, Albert-László –
    by cxdig on February 3, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    This is the first comprehensive overview of the 'science of science,' an emerging interdisciplinary field that relies on big data to unveil the reproducible patterns that govern individual scientific careers and the workings of science. It explores the roots of scientific impact, the role of productivity and creativity, when and what kind of collaborations are effective, the impact of failure and success in a scientific career, and what metrics can tell us about the fundamental workings of […]

  • 2nd IEEE International Conference on Autonomic Computing and Self-Organizing Systems – ACSOS 2021
    by cxdig on February 3, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    We are happy to announce that the second edition of the IEEE International Conference on Autonomic Computing and Self-Organizing Systems (ACSOS) will take place in Washington DC (depending on the Covid-19 situation) from September 27 to October 1, 2021. The ACSOS was founded as a merger of the IEEE International Conference on Autonomic Computing (ICAC) and the IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing Systems (SASO). The goal of the ACSOS is to provide a forum for […]

  • Self-Organizing Intelligent Matter: A blueprint for an AI generating algorithm
    by cxdig on January 30, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    Karol Gregor, Frederic Besse We propose an artificial life framework aimed at facilitating the emergence of intelligent organisms. In this framework there is no explicit notion of an agent: instead there is an environment made of atomic elements. These elements contain neural operations and interact through exchanges of information and through physics-like rules contained in the environment. We discuss how an evolutionary process can lead to the emergence of different organisms made of many […]

  • Evolving an Ecological Perspective
    by cxdig on January 30, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    SIMON A. LEVIN In addressing the challenges facing humanity, much can be learned from the evolution of ecological systems. Natural selection has led to mechanisms that confer robustness, or else organisms would not survive to reproduce. At the system level, tight interdependencies have similarly been selected; but the process of transformational evolution, as elucidated by Richard Lewontin (1977), or what Tim Lenton and collaborators (2018) have termed sequential selection, can serve as a […]

  • Association between population distribution and urban GDP scaling
    by cxdig on January 29, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    Ribeiro HV, Oehlers M, Moreno-Monroy AI, Kropp JP, Rybski D (2021) Association between population distribution and urban GDP scaling. PLoS ONE 16(1): e0245771. Urban scaling and Zipf’s law are two fundamental paradigms for the science of cities. These laws have mostly been investigated independently and are often perceived as disassociated matters. Here we present a large scale investigation about the connection between these two laws using population and GDP data from almost five thousand […]

  • CSS2020 full videos
    by cxdig on January 28, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    62 videos total are included: * Plenary talks are recordings as individual  videos (8).* Lightning talks are recordings of the 2 separate days (2).* Invited and contributed talks are 6 parallel, x 2 per day, x 4 days (48).* Special sessions (4).You can use the search feature to look for an author by name, keyword in the title of the presentation, etc. These are all listed at the bottom of each video. Watch at:

  • Effective connectivity determines the critical dynamics of biochemical networks
    by cxdig on January 26, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    Santosh Manicka, Manuel Marques-Pita, Luis M. Rocha Living systems operate in a critical dynamical regime -- between order and chaos -- where they are both resilient to perturbation, and flexible enough to evolve. To characterize such critical dynamics, the established 'structural theory' of criticality uses automata network connectivity and node bias (to be on or off) as tuning parameters. This parsimony in the number of parameters needed sometimes leads to uncertain predictions about the […]

  • The Sci-Hub effect on papers’ citations
    by cxdig on January 25, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    Juan C. Correa, Henry Laverde-Rojas, Julian Tejada & Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos Scientometrics (2021) Citations are often used as a metric of the impact of scientific publications. Here, we examine how the number of downloads from Sci-Hub as well as various characteristics of publications and their authors predicts future citations. Using data from 12 leading journals in economics, consumer research, neuroscience, and multidisciplinary research, we found that articles downloaded from Sci-Hub […]

  • Economic complexity theory and applications
    by cxdig on January 25, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    César A. Hidalgo Nature Reviews Physics (2021) Economic complexity methods have become popular tools in economic geography, international development and innovation studies. Here, I review economic complexity theory and applications, with a particular focus on two streams of literature: the literature on relatedness, which focuses on the evolution of specialization patterns, and the literature on metrics of economic complexity, which uses dimensionality reduction techniques to create metrics […]

  • Complexity Weekend – May 21-23, 2021
    by cxdig on January 25, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    Complexity 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 flow in a time of global connectivity Adaptive planning for […]

  • Short-term prediction through ordinal patterns
    by cxdig on January 21, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    Yair Neuman, Yochai Cohen and Boaz Tamir Royal Society Open Science January 2021 Volume 8, Issue 1 Prediction in natural environments is a challenging task, and there is a lack of clarity around how a myopic organism can make short-term predictions given limited data availability and cognitive resources. In this context, we may ask what kind of resources are available to the organism to help it address the challenge of short-term prediction within its own cognitive limits. We point to one […]

  • A Generic Encapsulation to Unravel Social Spreading of a Pandemic: An Underlying Architecture
    by cxdig on January 19, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    Saad AlqithamiComputers 2021, 10(1), 12 Cases of a new emergent infectious disease caused by mutations in the coronavirus family, called “COVID-19,” have spiked recently, affecting millions of people, and this has been classified as a global pandemic due to the wide spread of the virus. Epidemiologically, humans are the targeted hosts of COVID-19, whereby indirect/direct transmission pathways are mitigated by social/spatial distancing. People naturally exist in dynamically cascading […]

  • Self-organized biotectonics of termite nests
    by cxdig on January 19, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    Alexander Heyde, Lijie Guo, Christian Jost, Guy Theraulaz, and L. MahadevanPNAS February 2, 2021 118 (5) e2006985118 Termite nests are a remarkable example of functional self-organization that show how structure and function emerge on multiple length and time scales in ecophysiology. To understand the process by which this arises, we document the labyrinthine architecture within the subterranean nests of the African termite Apicotermes lamani and develop a simple mathematical model that relies […]

  • Combinatorial approach to spreading processes on networks
    by cxdig on January 18, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    Dario Mazzilli & Filippo Radicchi The European Physical Journal B volume 94, Article number: 15 (2021) Stochastic spreading models defined on complex network topologies are used to mimic the diffusion of diseases, information, and opinions in real-world systems. Existing theoretical approaches to the characterization of the models in terms of microscopic configurations rely on some approximation of independence among dynamical variables, thus introducing a systematic bias in the prediction […]

  • Survival of the Systems
    by cxdig on January 17, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    Timothy M.Lenton, Timothy A.Kohler, Pablo A.Marquet, Richard A.Boyle, Michel Crucifix, David M.Wilkinson, Marten Scheffer Trends Ecol. Evol. Recent theoretical progress highlights that natural selection can occur based solely on differential persistence of biological entities, without the need for conventional replication. This calls for a reconsideration of how ecosystems and social (-ecological) systems can evolve, based on identifying system-level properties that affect their persistence. […]

  • Dynamics of cascades on burstiness-controlled temporal networks
    by cxdig on January 16, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    Samuel Unicomb, Gerardo Iñiguez, James P. Gleeson & Márton Karsai Nature Communications volume 12, Article number: 133 (2021) Burstiness, the tendency of interaction events to be heterogeneously distributed in time, is critical to information diffusion in physical and social systems. However, an analytical framework capturing the effect of burstiness on generic dynamics is lacking. Here we develop a master equation formalism to study cascades on temporal networks with burstiness modelled […]

  • Quantifying the importance and location of SARS-CoV-2 transmission events in large metropolitan areas
    by cxdig on January 16, 2021 at 12:53 am

    Alberto Aleta, David Martín-Corral, Michiel A. Bakker, Ana Pastore y Piontti, Marco Ajelli, Maria Litvinova, Matteo Chinazzi, Natalie E. Dean, M. Elizabeth Halloran, Ira M. Longini Jr., Alex Pentland, Alessandro Vespignani, Yamir Moreno, Esteban Moro Detailed characterizations of SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk across different social settings can inform the design of targeted and less disruptive non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI), yet these data have been lacking. Here we integrate […]

  • Dynamics of informal risk sharing in collective index insurance
    by cxdig on January 15, 2021 at 9:48 pm

    Fernando P. Santos, Jorge M. Pacheco, Francisco C. Santos & Simon A. Levin Nature Sustainability (2021) Extreme weather events often prevent low-income farmers from accessing high-return technologies that would enhance their productivity. As a result, they often fall into poverty traps, a problem likely to worsen as the frequency of weather disasters increases due to climate change. Insurance offers, in principle, a solution for this conundrum and a means to guarantee households’ […]

  • Social Media Insights Into US Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Longitudinal Analysis of Twitter Data 
    by cxdig on January 15, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    Danny Valdez, Marijn ten Thij, Krishna Bathina, Lauren A Rutter, Johan Bollen J Med Internet Res 2020;22(12):e21418 Background: The COVID-19 pandemic led to unprecedented mitigation efforts that disrupted the daily lives of millions. Beyond the general health repercussions of the pandemic itself, these measures also present a challenge to the world’s mental health and health care systems. Considering that traditional survey methods are time-consuming and expensive, we need timely and […]

  • The multidisciplinary nature of COVID-19 research
    by cxdig on January 14, 2021 at 10:18 pm

    Ricardo Arencibia-Jorge, Lourdes García-García, Ernesto Galbán-Rodríguez, Humberto Carrillo-Calvet Objective We analyzed the scientific output after COVID-19 and contrasted it with studies published in the aftermath of seven epidemics/pandemics: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Influenza A virus H5N1 and Influenza A virus H1N1 human infections, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Ebola virus disease, Zika virus disease, and Dengue. Design/Methodology/Approach We examined […]

  • A scaling law in CRISPR repertoire sizes arises from avoidance of autoimmunity
    by cxdig on January 13, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    Hanrong Chen, Andreas Mayer, Vijay BalasubramanianSome bacteria and archaea possess an adaptive immune system that maintains a memory of past viral infections as DNA elements called spacers, stored in the CRISPR loci of their genomes. This memory is used to mount targeted responses against threats. However, cross-reactivity of CRISPR targeting mechanisms suggests that incorporation of foreign spacers can also lead to autoimmunity. We show that balancing antiviral defense against autoimmunity […]

  • The world is not a theorem
    by cxdig on January 13, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    Stuart A. Kauffman, Andrea RoliThe evolution of the biosphere unfolds as a luxuriant generative process of new living forms and functions. Organisms adapt to their environment, and exploit novel opportunities that are created in this continuous blooming dynamics. Affordances play a fundamental role in the evolution of the biosphere, as they represent the opportunities organisms may choose for achieving their goals, thus actualizing what is in potentia. In this paper we maintain that affordances […]

  • ALIFE 2021: International conference on artificial life ALIFE 2021
    by cxdig on January 13, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    The ALIFE conferences are the major meetings of the artificial life research community since 1987. These scientific gatherings are supported by the International Society for Artificial Life (ISAL).​ The 2021 Conference on Artificial Life ALIFE 2021 will take place in Prague (Czech Republic), 19-23 July, 2021. The conference theme will be Robots: The century past and the century ahead. The world-wide used word "robot" comes from Czech. It was first used to depict a fictional humanoid in Czech […]

  • Collective Intelligence
    by cxdig on January 12, 2021 at 7:29 pm

    Collective Intelligence is a transdisciplinary journal devoted to advancing the theoretical and empirical understanding of group performance in diverse systems, from adaptive matter to cellular and neural systems to animal societies to all types of human organizations to hybrid AI-human teams and nanobot swarms. Editors-in-Chief: Jessica Flack, Panos Ipeirotis, Scott E Page & Geoff Mulgan 

  • The Complexity of Increasing Returns
    by cxdig on January 10, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    While the idea of increasing returns—the tendency for what is ahead to get further ahead—has been part of economics since the pin factory, it was long resisted by economists. The reasons were both simple and profound. For decades, economists had a strong preference for models with a single equilibrium. This preference was incompatible with the idea of increasing returns. Imagine a farmer choosing whether to use her land to grow food or raise cattle. She begins by planting her most fertile […]

  • New Quantum Algorithms Finally Crack Nonlinear Equations
    by cxdig on January 9, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    Sometimes, it’s easy for a computer to predict the future. Simple phenomena, such as how sap flows down a tree trunk, are straightforward and can be captured in a few lines of code using what mathematicians call linear differential equations. But in nonlinear systems, interactions can affect themselves: When air streams past a jet’s wings, the air flow alters molecular interactions, which alter the air flow, and so on. This feedback loop breeds chaos, where small changes in initial […]

  • How Claude Shannon’s Information Theory Invented the Future
    by cxdig on January 8, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    Science seeks the basic laws of nature. Mathematics searches for new theorems to build upon the old. Engineering builds systems to solve human needs. The three disciplines are interdependent but distinct. Very rarely does one individual simultaneously make central contributions to all three — but Claude Shannon was a rare individual. Read the full article at:

  • Why free will is beyond physics
    by cxdig on January 8, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    Philip Ball argues that “free will” is not ruled out by physics – because it doesn’t stem from physics in the first place Read the full article at:

  • Public Discourse and Social Network Echo Chambers Driven by Socio-Cognitive Biases
    by cxdig on January 8, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    In recent years, social media has become an important platform for political discourse, being a site of both political conversations between voters and political advertisements from campaigns. While their individual influences on public discourse are well documented, the interplay between individual-level cognitive biases, social influence processes, dueling campaign efforts, and social media platforms remains unexamined. We introduce an agent-based model that integrates these dynamics and […]

  • Extending Genetic Programming for use in Big Data Analytics: BEACON alum Amir Gandomi
    by Danielle Whittaker on November 30, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    Former BEACON Distinguished Postdoc Amir H. Gandomi has received a 2021 Discovery Early Career Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council. Amir was a BEACON postdoc from 2015-2017, and is now a Professor of Data Science at University of Technology Sydney in … Continue reading →

  • 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: […]

  • 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