Is There an Optimal Level of Open-Endedness in Prebiotic Evolution?
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In this paper we explore the question of whether there is an optimal set up for a putative prebiotic system leading to open-ended evolution (OEE) of the events unfolding within this system. We do so by proposing two key innovations. First, we introduce a new index that measures OEE as a function of the likelihood of events unfolding within a universe given its initial conditions. Next, we apply this index to a variant of the graded autocatalysis replication domain (GARD) model, Segre et al. (P Natl Acad Sci USA 97(8):4112-4117, 2000; Markovitch and Lancet Artif Life 18(3), 2012), and use it to study - under a unified and concise prebiotic evolutionary framework - both a variety of initial conditions of the universe and the OEE of species that evolve from them.