Biology 361 = Computer Science 361

Bryn Mawr College
Spring 2007

Summing up, moving on

Motivations, ideas, potentials, problems

Computer models/modelling as inquiry

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

A Schema for Emergence as a BIG Idea
(from Emerging Emergence, A Report on Progress (Oct 2004)

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.

Useful for better understanding concepts ... Trying Out Unpeeling the Onion: The Meanings of "Purpose"

Challenge is to continue finding surprising things, use them to "unpeel" concepts, show that complexity can build on complexity to yield ... everything?

Your thoughts in forum by end of weekend
Email me by Monday your Langton's Ant modification
Monday - further explore/modify another model from Netlogo library
For Wednesday - read Chapters 1 and 2 of Wolfram's A New Kind of Science

Thoughts Arising

"simple things interacting in simple ways ..."
and "unpeeling"

  • complexity (organization/predictability AND unpredictability) need not depend on organizer/conductor nor intent/plan/architect
  • behaviors that incline an observer to attribute "intention" to an agent need not depend on any representation of intent within the agent
  • such behaviors can result simply from simple bidirectional interactions between an agent and an environment and are best thought of as finding stability in interactions? (homeostasis, attractors)
  • all of this can be found in deterministic systems

If things are unpredictable, are they "useful"?
What is the relation between "designers" and "conductors"? Must there be "conductors" before there can be "designers"? Do "designers" depend on consciousness?

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