Biology 361 = Computer Science 361

Bryn Mawr College
Spring 2007

From the forum

My goal here is to show the value of emergence in social theory by highlighting the way in which simple rules (in this case the morals of mechanical solidarity) can create complex patterns of behavior based on a social situation (organic solidarity). I find it incredibly interesting that in this model, organic solidarity embodies elements of both the social situation or environment and the rules or norms which govern behavior ... Alex

"I am really starting to believe that tackling the intricacies of emergence may be more intense than any one person's brain can handle ... how can we begin to obtain answers to these mysteries without falling into the reductionist constraints of traditional science? ... if we stop searching so hard for answers, perhaps we will emergently stumble across them in the future. (I don't know how realistic that last thought is, but well...it certainly works for my car keys.) ... Lauren

We always seem to find the most significant things by accident. It almost seems as if we'll never find the answer consciously... We look in the wrong places all too often ... Heather

The reason why I started to think about the procedure that this girl and the Amherst students went through, is because to me, it seemed to resemble the way Wolfram ran the cellular automaton and used the patterns drawn out by the computer to come up with his discoveries ... Natsu

Cellular Automata: The Whole Story of Emergence?

Motivations, ideas, potentials, problems

A schema for emergence as a big idea

"Simple things interacting in simple ways can yield surprisingly complex outcomes"

The Wolfram approach to cellular automata

Simple 1-D deterministic cellular automata

Four possible types of behavior?

  1. uniform from most starting states (rule 250 from one cell)
  2. simple repetitive patterns from most starting states (rule 90 from one cell)
  3. chaotic ("random"?) from most starting states (rule 30 from one cell)
  4. mix of chaotic and patterned from most starting states (rule 110 from one cell)

Similar for more complicated cellular automata/systems? (see three state CA)

21 February

Cellular automaton (universe) as computer?


Computational universe?

More "onion unpeeling" to come ...

Assignment due a week from Wednesday: an exploration/modification of one dimensional cellular automata (allowing arbitrary starting points? showing the edge of chaos?). Be sure to send me the .nlogo file, with commentary.

If you haven't already sent me two .nlogo files, with commentary and titles please do so.

26 February

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