What is it about?
Point mutations drive an artificial computer world (Amoeba) to evolve competing replicating programs (organisms) from an initial state consisting of millions of operations randomly selected from a genetic basis set of 25 possible opcodes. The emergence of self-replicating programs occurs in several steps: initially the opcode basis set becomes biased, short opcode building blocks are propagated through memory space, the building blocks self-organize into primitive replicating programs, Darwinian evolution generates more and more efficient replicators.
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Why is it important?
Amoeba was the first computer world (1996) to exhibit emergence of self-replicating programs from an initial world consisting of computer operations (opcodes) randomly selected from a genetic basis set (typically 16 to 32) of opcodes. Earlier versions of Amoeba generated replicators merely through a fortuitous combination of opcodes that later evolved into more efficient programs driven by Darwinian evolution. The recent (2017) version of Amoeba exhibits a far richer emergence where Darwinian evolution drives the computer world to self-organize by biasing the basis set and then propagating short building block snippets of code that combine to form replicating programs.
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This page is a summary of: Self-Replicators Emerge from a Self-Organizing Prebiotic Computer World, Artificial Life, August 2017, The MIT Press, DOI: 10.1162/artl_a_00234.
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