Evolutionary and adaptive systems


I did a Master degree in Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems at the University of Sussex. 2007/2008.

To be completely honest I had a fairly tenuous grasp of evolution and adaptation, much of what I did learn has gotten lost in the mist of time now. I was better at coding, and I really enjoyed the coding of agent-based models.

The degree covered a lot of things, in a nutshell I would say the main part of it (that appealed to me the most) was the idea of there being no Gods or central planners, just things evolving over time, and individuals interacting with each other causing patterns to emerge that noone really 'built in' or planned for.

A really lovely example of that being a murmuration of starlings, when you get a huge flock of them in the sky, they manage to stay together as a coherent whole, and these beautiful shapes and patterns form as they fly around with each other, but there's no 'head bird' so to speak, noone choreographing everything. And so that kind of swarming behaviour has been modelled and used in computer graphics in films for example, to make birds or bats or shoals of fish look realistic.

My final project on the Masters was working on some software (NeurAnim) to visualise artificial neural networks.

One of my projects (not a great one to be honest, but I still quite like the idea) was based around some kind of algorithm based on fish swimming that worked as an information retrieval mechanism for you. I still like this idea - info daemons.

1 Elsewhere in the garden

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