artlife

Artlife is a program which simulates the process of natural selection. You can use it to create a model of living organism population and then - by changing the selection parameters - observe its behavior and evolution.

To run the program, choose one of the two models: organic or cybernetic. Read below to learn about how it works.

ORGANIC LIFE model

It simulates a population of herbivorous microorganisms. You create the first organism by choosing its features (parameters) from the control panel. After turning the simulator on , the organism begins to move and reproduce - to live. From now on its life and that of its offspring cannot be steered by you. Every specimen controls and reproduces itself. Each one is independent of others. The features it inherits from its parents can undergo mutations - as in the real natural world.

The number of specimens in a population is, in a sense, limited. Such limitation is also present in the real world. Since organisms reproduce themselves with a geometrical progress, your computer will soon lack processing power. This is why after exceeding the critical number (which can be set by you) organisms start suffering from hunger which makes them die in. accidental order. The process continues till the number of organisms decreases and sources of food (vegetation) are regenerated.

Predators are the second factor to affect the population of herbivorous organisms. The features of the first predator should be set before the simulation starts. Then these features are passed to its offspring and can mutate (see above). You can observe how the selection of predator's features affects the population of herbivorous organisms.

Mutation is an accidental change of the inherited feature caused by an error in the act of gene copying. If you turn on the mutation switch for given features, they will mutate every now and then. Mutations are necessary for organisms to evolve. Organisms' features determine their behavior.

Herbivorous organisms have three features:

  • repro-cycles: maximal number of reproduction cycles in the lifetime; e.g. 3 means that the organism can give birth to 3 specimens providing it is not eaten or dies of hunger
  • the speed of movement
  • resistance to predator's aggression

Predators' features are:

  • repro-cycles: maximal number of reproduction cycles in the lifetime
  • the speed of movement
  • aggression: if coming across a herbivorous organism, predator's aggression is stronger than that of its victim, it devours its victim. If the resistance exceeds the aggression, predator goes away hungry.

Interesting things happen when organisms mutate. Weaker and slower specimens are eliminated so their features are not inherited. Next generations evolve in a way that helps them to avoid predators, who - in turn - die childless if they cannot get enough food. Only the strongest and the fastest specimens survive. These processes can be observed on dynamic Graphs or viewed directly in Microscope mode. To sum up, you can observe the process of Darwinian evolution, which for many people is difficult to understand and accept mainly because the changes are visible only after many generations.

Organic model: on screen

Control Panels - enable to configure the initial features of herbivorous organisms and predators

Graph - show percentage of particular mutation in a population

Artlife - back to the Main Menu

Reset - erases all the data and allows new experiment to begin Grid - displays guides

Run - starts simulation

Pause - pauses simulation

Show Individual Parameters - displays features for each organism on the screen (in Pause mode)

Microscope - enlarges chosen parts of the screen

Exit - closes the Artlife program

Counter - shows the number of conventional time units that has lapsed since the start of the simulation; the real time is not relevant for statistics since the speed of the program depends on the processing power of the computer.

Hunger - enables to set the number of specimens in a population above which the hunger appears and the number of specimens in a population below which the hunger disappear

CYBERNETIC LIFE model

It simulates a population of microscopic - autotrophic and heterotrophic - robots. You create the first representative of each of the two species by choosing its features in the control panel.

After turning the simulator on ( run ), the robot begins to move and reproduce - to live. From now on its life and that of its offspring cannot be steered by you or controlled by any superior program. Every robot controls and reproduces itself. Each one is independent of others. The features it inherits from its parents can undergo mutations. Mutation is an accidental change of the inherited feature caused by an error in the act of gene copying. If you turn on the mutation switch for given kind, every now and than the offspring with features different to their parents appears.

Autotrophic robots take energy form their environment (e.g. sun energy). The number of robots in a population is, in a sense, limited. Since they reproduce themselves with a geometrical progress, your computer will soon lack processing power. This is why after exceeding the critical number (which can be set by you) there is a shortage of energy (hunger) and robots start "dying" in accidental order. The process continues till the number of robots decreases and the sources of energy are regenerated.

Heterotrophic robots get energy by taking it away form autotrophic robots (and thus destroying them).

Both species of robots are divided into 9 types (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I). A-type heterotrophic robots can destroy only A-type autotrophic robots, B-type can destroy only B-type, etc.

Interesting things happen when animates mutate. Autotrophic robots evolve into entities immune to attacks of heterotrophic ones. Their number increases faster until the mutation of adequate destroyers appears. They - in turn - are dependant on their victims and die if do not devour enough of them in a specific time unit. Only robots adapted to currently dominating mutation survive.

The oscillation of the different robot types can be observed on dynamic Graphs or viewed directly in Microscope mode. To sum up, you can observe the process similar to the one taking place in the immune system, where bacteria are eaten by leucocytes, which attack only particular type of the enemy.

Cybernetic model: on screen

Control Panels - enable to configure the initial features of herbivorous organisms and predators

Graph - show percentage of particular mutation in a population

Artlife - back to the Main Menu

Reset - erases all the data and allows new experiment to begin Grid - displays guides

Run - starts simulation

Pause - pauses simulation

Show Individual Parameters - displays features for each organism on the screen (in Pause mode)

Microscope - enlarges chosen parts of the screen

Exit - closes the Artlife program

Counter - shows the number of conventional time units that has lapsed since the start of the simulation; the real time is not relevant for statistics since the speed of the program depends on the processing power of the computer.

Hunger - enables to set the number of specimens in a population above which the hunger appears and the number of specimens in a population below which the hunger disappear

copyright: Jacek Szleszyński 2003, 2004
Wytwórnia Dziwnych Filmow
www.artlife.pl

All right reserved

contact:
wdf@artlife.pl

Translations:
Agnieszka Jacuńska
Jarek Stawirej