Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Interesting conference workshop on Complexity, Evolution, and Emergent Intelligence

I was just reading the call for papers announcement for a workshop entitled "Workshop on Complexity, Evolution and Emergent Intelligence" at the AI*IA 09 Eleventh Conference of the Italian Association of Artificial Intelligence scheduled on December 12, 2009 in Reggio Emilia, Italy which covers a variety of topics related to complex systems and "aims at bringing together scientists who work from different perspectives, from basic science to applications, on the common theme of systems composed by many components that interact non-linearly."

The focus is on complex systems which "very often exhibit interesting features, as self-organisation, robustness, surprising collective processes and occasionally intelligence."

A workshop goal is to achieve closer interactions between the communities of Complex Systems Science (CSS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI):

Recent developments -- for example in the context of agent-based modelling, distributed and/or evolutionary computation -- represent new opportunities for further exploring and strengthening these scientific interactions and connections.

The workshop will pay close attention to the combination of intelligence and complex interactions:

As already suggested, the contemporary presence of intelligence and complex interactions may not be casual but, instead, able to disclose deeper links between the two characteristics. Are there universal patterns of organization in complex systems, from pre-biotic replicators to evolved beings, to artificial objects? Do these structures allow effective computational processes to develop?

Key questions are how robust structures which develop in such systems are, how information is incorporated into these structures and how computation emerges. The study of complex systems is also interested in determining the contributions of selection, chance and self-organization to the functioning and evolution of complex structures.

Topics of interest for the workshop include:

  • Agent based models
  • Cellular automata
  • Evolutionary computation
  • Information processing
  • Network properties
  • Self-organisation, emergent behaviours
  • Tangled hierarchies, description levels, reciprocal causality
  • Adaptation/exaptation
  • Evolution and co-evolution
  • Robustness, criticality
  • Pattern formation, pattern recognition, collective intelligence
  • Non linear dynamics, edge of chaos
  • The emergence of mind
  • Bio-inspired methods

I am most intrigued with tangled hierarchies and the emergence of mind, but it is all quite fascinating stuff.

-- Jack Krupansky

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

One-way travel to Mars?

I noticed the intriguing Op-Ed article in The New York Times by Lawrence M. Krauss entitled "A One-Way Ticket to Mars" and was immediately reminded of similar thoughts I had and blogged about back on May 27, 2007 in a post about being a Mars colonist entitled "One-way trip to Mars".

I would definitely consider signing up for one-way travel to Mars to be a Mars colonist. I might want to wait a few more years before going, but nobody is going yet anyway.

Note that going one-way would not necessarily mean you could never come back, but simply that the return trip, if any, is completely decoupled from the outbound voyage. Some colonists might seek to return, but a majority would likely seek to stay on Mars.

Another note is that the somewhat weaker gravity would be a blessing to those of more advanced age (such as aging Baby Boomers.)

A final note is the prospect of children being born and raised on Mars.

And beyond a final note is the prospect of genetic engineering of humans to be able to survive in the weak atmosphere of Mars.

-- Jack Krupansky

The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine

There is an interesting article from Wired by Robert Capps entitled "The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine" which expresses a concept that I have believed in... forever. Actually, I haven't finished reading the article yet, but just the first page was "good enough" for me to judge that the author was talking about one of my core philosophies about technology, products, and services.

My own philosophy of "good enough" explains why I remain a diehard PC owner and user. Is the Mac better? Maybe, in some ways. Is the Mac superior enough to justify its price tag? To me: No way. To put it simply: To me, the PC is good enough.

To me, good enough is... good enough. Why pay extra for what you do not really need?

-- Jack Krupansky