Friday, May 09, 2003

The Evolution of Complexity An important article in the current issue of Nature discusses recent advances in our understanding of the evolution of very complex systems. The article is only available by subscription online, but check out the summary here.

The article disucsses a recent experiment in the field of artificial life. The idea is to construct self-replicating computer programs that mimic many of the features of actual organisms. The programs reproduce, mutate and compete with each other for various resources determined by the programmers. In the present experiment, the artificial critters were seen to evolve the ability to perform complex logical operations via numerous small gradations. The analogy between the artificial life forms and their organic counterparts is sufficiently strong, that studying A. Life can shed light on the real thing. It is yet another blow to those creationists who say complex systems can not evolve by natural means.