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  A Demo of Artifical Life
Interdisciplinary interest

A demo of artificial life
Part 1
Part 2

What you see below is a simple screen dump collection of the emergent self-replication simulation. This animation contains simulation steps from the very beginning to step 2000. We can see that at the beginning there are only those blue monomers consisting of symbols >, L and O. Symbol > is oriented and can point at four different directions. This primordial soup is constantly stirred by random agitation. Occasionally a binding of monomers occurs which forms a smallest 2 by 2 (four cells) self-replicating loop. It is identified by the green protection membrane of the loop. Some initial loops are destroyed immediate by neighboring chaotic movemenst. Luckily, one loop escapes the fate at its infancy and starts replicating itself. So life emerges in the cellular space.

This smallest self-replicating loop is very efficient in replicating itself because of its size. Therefore, in a short while the space is full of loops. But then, it becomes very easy for loops to collide with each other. When collision happens, loops will be destroyed and dissolved to monomer states. This can be seen when the red dying signal # running across a loop body.

Occasionally, mutations of loops happen, which producs offsprings that are bigger than parent loops. For example, a 2 by 2 loop can replicate a 3 by 3 loop, and a 3 by 3 loop can produce a 4 by 4 loop, and so on. In this demonstration we can see that bigger and bigger loops gradually appear in the space. Since there is only a limited space for loops to grow, when loops are too big, they collide more frequently with each other and are destroyed more rapidly.

In addition, bigger loops take more time to replicate themselves than smaller loops. When the two factors are combined, it means loops cannot grow forever bigger. Eventually they will annihilate each other under this small space. This is happening near the end of the initial 2000 steps. Then we see only monomers in the space.

Fortunately, life is an endless endeavor that will always continue. After a while we see the smallest loop emerges again, and life goes on. If you are not bored after seeing the first 2000 steps, you can see the next 2000 steps (steps 2000 to 4000), by clicking here. To minimize the size of this demonstration we have chosen a very small cellular space (40 by 40 cells) and a tiny screen font to represent cell states. We apologize if this looks too small to you. To watch the simulation again, just click the Reload Button of your web browser. Better yet, if you wish to run this simulation for yourself, you can go to my software page to download the simulation program Trend.