Biology 361 = Computer Science 361
Bryn Mawr College
Agent Based Modelling
6, 8 February 2006
I. Agents and Environments
II. Deterministic vs Non-Deterministic Sytems
Some Blog Thoughts
Apparently this is going to be more of a philosophical course than I had planned on ... PeterOMalley
can a person create a program with no rules and no purpose? ... Every single program I've written has been to solve some sort of problem of accomplish some task ... Julia_Ferraioli
before thinking about your post I definitely thought that a program could have no purpose, but now I don't know ... LauraKasakoff
There's a strong argument to be made for tossing the concept of purpose onto the sentimental, self-delusional pile of anthropomorphisms ... Kathy Maffei
I was thinking about the ideas of "free will" and "agency", and they do not make any sense to me ... DavidRosen
Emergence - from the simple to the complex without an architect/planner
- Digital determinism - the universe is computable (and hence deterministic)
- Not a bad baseline, since there are indeed computable things/features in the universe
- Our intuition/aspirations suggest there are other things as well (see for example Roger Penrose, Emperor's New Mind, 1989)
- There exist at least some non-computable things in the universe (see for example Gregory Chaitin, Omega and why math has no TOES, 2005)
- Could such things, as well as "agency", "purpose, "free will" be better understood as emergent properties of a computable system? In what ways do they not reduce to something "computable"? How could they emerge from something computable (again, with no architect/planner)?
- " there's nothing wrong with using new frames of reference to examine the unknown - why not try them on for size?" ... Kathy Maffei
- philosophy? or ... cosmology?, physics?, or chemistry?, biology?, cognitive science?, social science?, mathematics?, or computer science?, gaming?, art?, or ... dealing with problems that surface in all these realms?
- writing programs without a well-defined objective, to see what happens, to be surprised? to make better sense of what does not make sense?
The World of Langton's Ant compared to cellular automata
- origin of the rules?
- the existence of an agent within the universe?
- different behaviors?
- differences in rules? ... "encapsulation"
- computational equivilence (where did "encapsulation" come from? where might it come from?)
"Purpose": using The World of Langton's Ant to try out "unpeeling the onion"
- what is an observer looking for?
- what is actually in the ant?
- simple rules, simple interactions
- no change inside corresponding to observer's sense of behavior change
- nothing inside corresponding to observer's sense of "purpose"
- change in behavior due to agent's effect on environment
("stigmergy") in turn affecting agent behavior without internal change
- Conclusions - useful?
- could we put something in the agent that would make act more "purposefully"? what?
The determinate/indeterminate distinction
NetLogo as a modelling environment for agent-based modelling
- Work through NetLogo documentation
- Create a World of Langton's Ant, with modifications?
- Create an "exploring" ant?
- Create a "free will" ant?
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Wednesday, 08-Feb-2006 11:00:39 EST