, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 253-281
Date: 29 Aug 2006

Unbounded evolutionary dynamics in a system of agents that actively process and transform their environment

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Abstract

Bedau et al.'s statistical classification system for long-term evolutionary dynamics provides a test for open-ended evolution. Making this test more rigorous, and passing it, are two of the most important open problems for research into systems of agents that actively process and transform their environment. This paper presents a detailed description of the application of this test to ‘Geb’, a system designed to verify and extend theories behind the generation of evolutionarily emergent systems. The result is that, according to these statistics, Geb exhibits unbounded evolutionary dynamics, making it the first autonomous artificial system to pass this test. However, having passed it, the most prudent course of action is to look for weaknesses in the test. The test is criticized, most significantly with regard to its normalization method for artificial systems. Furthermore, this paper presents a modified normalization method, based on component activity normalization, that overcomes these criticisms. The results of the revised test, when applied to Geb, indicate that this system does indeed exhibit open-ended evolution.

Communicated by: W. Banzhaf
*Parts of this paper have been published in [1012].