Monday, September 27, 2010


Computational and Wet Synthetic Life?

Special Presentation -Jose Lugo Martinezi: Chris Adami's Digital genetics: unraveling the genetic basis for evolution and discussion of Tom Ray's Evolution, ecology and optimization of digital organisms

Special Presentation - Karthik Ramaswamy Padmanabhan: Gibson et al's Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome and discussion of "Life after the synthetic cell"

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The Mysterious Memristor

"Researchers at HP have solved the 37-year mystery of the memory resistor, the missing 4th circuit element." Full article @ IEEE Spectrum


Large colonial organisms with coordinated growth in oxygenated environments 2.1Gyr ago

"The Gabon fossils, occurring after the 2.45–2.32-Gyr increase in atmospheric oxygen concentration10, may be seen as ancient representatives of multicellular life, which expanded so rapidly 1.5 Gyr later, in the Cambrian explosion." Full article @ Nature

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Learning from Bacteria about Natural Information Processing

"... illuminating examples of swarming intelligence of live bacteria in which they solve optimization problems that are beyond what human beings can solve. This will lead to a discussion about the special nature of bacterial computational principles compared to Turing algorithm computational principles, in particular about the role of distributed information processing. Full paper @ "Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences - Wiley Online Library

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Reaction-Diffusion Model

"The Turing, or reaction-diffusion (RD), model is one of the best-known theoretical models used to explain self-regulated pattern formation in the developing animal embryo. Although its real-world relevance was long debated, a number of compelling examples have gradually alleviated much of the skepticism surrounding the model. The RD model can generate a wide variety of spatial patterns, and mathematical studies have revealed the kinds of interactions required for each, giving this model the potential for application as an experimental working hypothesis in a wide variety of morphological phenomena. In this review, we describe the essence of this theory for experimental biologists unfamiliar with the model, using examples from experimental studies in which the RD model is effectively incorporated.". Full review @ Science

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Chemical Kinetics is Turing Universal

We show that digital logic can be implemented in the chemical kinetics of homogeneous solutions: We explicitly construct logic gates and show that arbitrarily large circuits can be made from them. This proves that a subset of the constructions available to life has universal (Turing) computational power. Full article at Phys. Rev. Lett. 78, 1190 (1997)

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Complex systems: Foreseeing tipping points

"Theory suggests that the risk of critical transitions in complex systems can be revealed by generic indicators. A lab study of extinction in plankton populations provides experimental support for that principle." Full news article @ Nature. Se also the research article:

John M. Drake & Blaine D. Griffen [2010]. "Early warning signals of extinction in deteriorating environments". Nature 467 , 456–459

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Material monitors mugginess

"Inspired by the natural design of the Hercules beetle, researchers have created a film that changes colour according to the ambient humidity." Full highlight @ Nature


Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Amazing flame fractals

Thanks to Larry Yeager for pointing these to me: Amazing flame fractals take your breath away | TechRepublic Photo Gallery

By rajahh

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Monday, September 20, 2010


Snowflakes promise faster chips

"Chips could run faster and be more energy efficient thanks to a process from IBM that copies nature's creation of seashells and snowflakes". Full Story @ BBC NEWS | Technology

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Bizarre Robot Traders

"On the quantitative trading forum, Nuclear Phynance, the consensus on the patterns seemed to be that they simply just emerged. They were the result of "a dynamical system that can enter oscillatory/unstable modes of behaviour," as one member put it. If so, what you see here really is just the afterscent of robot traders gliding through the green-on-black darkness of the financial system on their way from one real trade to another." Full article @ The Atlantic

Thanks Mike for the link!

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The Thinking Machine

Jeff Hawkins created the Palm Pilot and the Treo. Now he says he’s got the ultimate invention: software that mimics the human brain. Full article @
Wired 15.03

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Friday, September 17, 2010


Intelligent Machinery

Intelligent Machinery a 1948 report by Alan Turing. See the Special Issue of Evolutionary Intelligence on Alan Turing, in preparation for the centenary of his birth.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Computing, 2016: What Won't Be Possible?

"Computer science is not only a comparatively young field, but also one that has had to prove it is really science. Skeptics in academia would often say that after Alan Turing described the concept of the ''universal machine'' in the late 1930's -- the idea that a computer in theory could be made to do the work of any kind of calculating machine, including the human brain -- all that remained to be done was mere engineering." Full Story @ NY Times



Student snags maths prize

The simple 2,3 Turing Machine (a head with only two states and a tape that can use 3 symbols) is shown to be capable of universal computation. Full article @ Nature News

The state of the head (up or down droplet) and the pattern of colour (orange, yellow and white) in a given row depends upon the row above. A simple start can lead to an incredibly complex picture. (Wolfram Institute)


Thursday, September 09, 2010


Careless expression - The Scientist - Magazine of the Life Sciences

"Bacteria have a better chance of survival when they are not as careful when expressing proteins"
News article @ The Scientist. Full paper:

Mor Meyerovich, Gideon Mamou, and Sigal Ben-Yehuda [2010]. "Visualizing high error levels during gene expression in living bacterial cells". PNAS 107 (25) 11543-11548.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010



"a lab led by Jack Szostak, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School, is building simple cell models that can almost be called life. Szostak's protocells are built from fatty molecules that can trap bits of nucleic acids that contain the source code for replication. Combined with a process that harnesses external energy from the sun or chemical reactions, they could form a self-replicating, evolving system that satisfies the conditions of life, but isn't anything like life on earth now, but might represent life as it began or could exist elsewhere in the universe." Full article @
Wired Science

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Single cell 'can store memories'

"Just one brain cell is capable of holding fleeting memories vital for our everyday life" Full article @ BBC NEWS. Very interesting discovery about information-processing and memory in the brain.

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Friday, September 03, 2010


Workshop on Guided Self-Organization

The School of Informatics & Computing (SoIC), Complex Networks and Systems Center for Research (CNetS), and Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) at Indiana University (IU) are pleased to host the 3rd International Workshop on Guided Self-Organization, September 4-6, 2010. Please join us!

The GSO 3 Program

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Thursday, September 02, 2010


Clustered Networks Spread Behavior Change Faster

"Unlike infectious diseases and news, behavior change spreads faster through online networks that have many close connections instead of many distant ties. Redundancy is key, as people are more likely to engage in a behavior if they see many others doing it." Full news report @

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Science Team Make Gut Bacteria Do Math: Living Computers On Way?

"It may not be quite as sophisticated or cerebral as Starfleet’s bio-neural computing gel packs, but scientists have made a start towards this sort of tech by making bacteria solve a math problem. The team from Davidson College and Missouri Western State University added genes to the harmless Escherichia coli, normally found wiggling its way ’round your gut. The result was a bacterial computer able to solve the classic mathematical puzzle called the Burnt Pancake Problem… kind of fitting for a gut bacterium, no?". Full article Gizmodo Australia

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Mapping gene expression in the brain

Mapping the Mind: Online Interactive Atlas Shows Activity of 20,000 Brain-Related Genes. A meticulously constructed atlas of the human brain reveals the molecular roots of mental illness—and of everyday behavior. Full article @ Scientific American

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Robot meet and greet: ASIMO works on its social skills this week

"People need to be able to comfortably communicate with the robot so that it can react properly to their commands and carry out their wishes when assistance is needed." Full news piece @ Scientific American Gallery

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Charles Darwin's ecological experiment on Ascension isle

"A lonely island in the middle of the South Atlantic conceals Charles Darwin's best-kept secret." Full News report @ BBC News

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Worm gene maps give clue to higher brain evolution

"Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory have mapped the nervous system of worms to try and understand how the human cerebral cortex evolved." Full news article @ BBC News

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