Biology 361 = Computer Science 361
Bryn Mawr College
Spring 2006

From Cellular Automata to Agent-Based Models

Paul Grobstein
1 February 2006

The Wolfram claim/challenge:

"the problem of science (ALL sciences) reduces to the problem of determining no more than two things: the rule set that is in fact used by the universe to go from one digitial state in digital time to the next and the starting configuration of the original digital array"
An external observer of the universe (or some part of it) may perceive "agents" but agents do not in fact exist except in the mind of the observer. The universe as it exists at any given time and as it changes over time can be understood without the concept of "agents".

PG conjecture:

Both conductors and planners/architects are themselves products of on ongoing process of emergence. So too is the brain, meaning, purpose, science, and inquiry itself.

All are (non-deterministically?) derivitive of properties and interactions that existed at earlier stages of emergence and that persist at lower levels of organization. Having come into existence, each becomes both an influence on lower levels of organization and an ingredient for the creation of new levels.

  • Agent-based models can do things (have properties?) that cellular automata do not.
  • Agent-based models can be derived from suitable? cellular automata.
  • Simple agent-based models are necessary and sufficient to generate more complex agent-based models that in turn can do things that neither cellular automata nor simple agent-based models can do.

The immediate questions at hand in becoming familiar with agent-based models:

Assignment for Monday:

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