I live in Salento (Italy) the small land between two seas, where I work as a teacher in a school for adults. My education includes a degree in Life Sciences; in my post-graduate training, I have been involved in searching for the genetic and molecular responses of some cellular systems to environmental and genomic stresses. Now, one of my great interests is the approach to theoretical biology through agent-based modeling techniques, even if - I know - nothing can be more surprising than the complexity of Nature and the cognition of it.
Complex Adaptive Systems, Agent Based Simulation, Technology Enhanced Learning, and Theoretical Biology
Flibs’NLogo implements in NetLogo modelling environment, a genetic algorithm whose purpose is evolving a perfect predictor from a pool of digital creatures constituted by finite automata or flibs (finite living blobs) that are the agents of the model. The project is based on the structure described by Alexander K. Dewdney in “Exploring the field of genetic algorithms in a primordial computer sea full of flibs” from the vintage Scientific American column “Computer Recreations”
As Dewdney summarized: “Flibs […] attempt to predict changes in their environment. In the primordial computer soup, during each generation, the best predictor crosses chromosomes with a randomly selected flib. Increasingly accurate predictors evolve until a perfect one emerges. A flib […] has a finite number of states, and for each signal it receives (a 0 or a 1) it sends a signal and enters a new state. The signal sent by a flib during each cycle of operation is its prediction of the next signal to be received from the environment”
Genetic algorithms try to solve a computational problem following some principles of organic evolution. This model has educational purposes; it can give us an answer to the simple arithmetic problem on how to find the highest natural number composed by a given number of digits. We approach the task using a genetic algorithm, where the candidate solutions to the problem are represented by agents, that in logo programming environment are usually known as “turtles”.