Emergence 361

Computer Science and Biology 361

The Journey Begins

Projects: 
My Attitude Page

Definition of Brachial Neuritis: Inflammation of nerves in the arm causing muscle weakness and pain.

Definition of Cervical Radiculopathy: A dysfunction of a nerve root of the cervical spine resulting from a disk herniation or an acute injury causing foraminal impringement of an existing nerve.

Definition of Pinched Nerve: A term for pain or impaired function of a nerve that is under pressure. It happens to nerves that control muscle movements or relay sensations to the brain.

robot brain evolution

Projects: 
I submitted my final project html, but I don't see where they are going to be available for viewing. I hope a link is added so I read them all. Since a couple of people asked me to post the code from my project so they could fiddle with the robots, I posted my final project page (with links to the code) in my public folder. Hopefully, there's all the info you'd need to run it. Happy evolving!

Encouraging continuing emergence ...

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does emergence matter?

Projects: 
Earlier on in the semester, doug wrote "I think the study of "emergence" can be seen as a luxury topic. People may see it as non-critical, and do not see it as a field of inquiry that will immediately solve real problems. (I beg to differ). I suspect that the few women and other underrepresented groups are attracted, first, to the major topics, and slowly diffuse into "fringe" areas." This sentiment rang all too true to me. Emergence may attempt to explain and describe the physical world, but constructing computer models does not feel like solving everyday problems. It feels like playing games.

Neural networks to make emergent simulations more efficient?

Projects: 
I wrote a short essay for a related class about how neural networks might (or might not) be able to help speed up emergent simulations, and I may try and test this idea in my tree simulation project. Here is my essay if you are interested; please let me know what you think!

Assessments of Emergence

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Throughout this course, I've found one aspect of our discussions and readings to be somewhat troubling. There is a tendency proclaim emergence as a penultimate field, emergent phenomenon as universal and terribly important...in short, emergence as not just a new kind of science but the coming messiah of science. It could just be that the field, in particular the content matter, is inherently of a universal and penetrating sort. So if emergence itself claims to be the end-all, be all of reality, then our conversations and emergent literature should similarly describe it as such. I think this is true to a certain extent. In my eyes, however, there is also a some aggrandizing in our conversations and the literature.

Emergence talk at Haverford

Projects: 
Dr. Ursula Goodenough (Professor of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, author of The Sacred Depths of Nature): "EMERGENCE: NATURE'S MODE OF CREATIVITY" She'll be speaking as part of a larger forum on Saturday, April 8th from 1PM-5PM in Sharpless Auditorium Ursula Goodenough is currently Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis MO. She was educated at Radcliffe and Barnard Colleges (B.A. Zoology, 1963), Columbia University (M.A. Zoology, 1965) and Harvard University (Ph.D. Biology, 1969), did 2 years of postdoctoral at Harvard, and was Assistant and Associate Professor of Biology at Harvard from 1971-1978 before moving to Washington University.

Cockroach Behavior

Projects: 
I found an article on Slashdot today about the decision making patterns used by cockroaches. It echoes many of the same ideas in the book I read for my project (Emergence, by Steven Johnson). It's a very short article and it demonstrates how cockroach/ant/etc colonies can function without a centralized authority dictating the behavior of the group.