Day 3 of ALife, and the great science continues!
Next was the morphology session. Although several of the speakers admitted their work wasn’t truly about morphology, all the talks were all interesting. We heard about difficulties of co-evolving morphology and body controllers. Morphology seems to converge quickly, because if it changes, the co-evolving brain can’t adapt fast enough. The speaker had some suggestions on how to improve the situation. Next we heard about evolving soft body robots, exploiting “passive dynamics” and using this capability as a sort of embodied “computational reservoir”. Then there was an examination of how the shape of space (a “donut” shaped torus v a “bicycle tyre” shaped torus) affects iterated prisoner dilemma: donuts are better. Then finally there was a nice talk about co-evolving predator field of view and prey “swarminess”, with interesting Red Queen style oscillations: prey evolve to swarm to confuse the predator, which evolves a narrower field of view to avoid confusion, so the prey then evolve to scatter to hide from the focussed predator, which evolves a wider field of view, and so on.
The final session of the day was on computational biology, with a range of talks covering the self-organisation of badger latrines, chopping the tails off tadpoles, making C.Elegans models that swim correctly, a multiscale simulation of E.Coli (from molecular to Petri dish scales), and experiments on the evolution of genetic networks. That’s quite a varied bunch!