Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Advances in Artificial Life, ECAL 2013

The proceedings for ECAL 2013 are available to download from MIT Press. Advances in Artificial Life, ECAL 2013 | The MIT Press



Developmental neuroscience: Miniature human brains

"A study shows that stem cells can be used to generate self-organizing three-dimensional tissues that mimic the developing human brain. These tissues provide a tool for modelling neurodevelopmental disorders." Full news report @ Nature


Monday, August 26, 2013


Genome architecture is a selectable trait

"Chromosomal rearrangements are mutations contributing to both within and between species variation; however their contribution to fitness is yet to be measured. Here we show that chromosomal rearrangements are pervasive in natural isolates of Schizosaccharomyces pombe and contribute to reproductive isolation." Full Paper @ Nature Communications


Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Ant colonies outperform individuals when a sensory discrimination task is difficult but not when it is easy

“'Collective intelligence' and 'wisdom of crowds' refer to situations in which groups achieve more accurate perception and better decisions than solitary agents. Whether groups outperform individuals should depend on the kind of task and its difficulty, but the nature of this relationship remains unknown. Here we show that colonies of Temnothorax ants outperform individuals for a difficult perception task but that individuals do better than groups when the task is easy". Full article @ PNAS


Deleterious mutations as stepping stones in adaptive evolution

"we used digital organisms to compare the extent of adaptive evolution in populations when deleterious mutations were disallowed with control populations in which such mutations were allowed. Significantly higher fitness levels were achieved over the long term in the control populations because some of the deleterious mutations served as stepping stones across otherwise impassable fitness valleys." Full article @ PNAS

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Floppy Cells

"Cell division in L-forms—bacterial variants that have no cell walls—could shed light on how primitive life forms replicated." Full article @ The Scientist Magazine

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


On the origins of hierarchy in complex networks

"Hierarchy seems to pervade complexity in both living and artificial systems. Despite its relevance, no general theory that captures all features of hierarchy and its origins has been proposed yet. Here we present a formal approach resulting from the convergence of theoretical morphology and network theory." Full article @ PNAS

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Thursday, August 08, 2013


The Minimal Complexity of Adapting Agents Increases with Fitness

"What is the relationship between the complexity and the fitness of evolved organisms, whether natural or artificial? It has been asserted, primarily based on empirical data, that the complexity of plants and animals increases as their fitness within a particular environment increases via evolution by natural selection. We simulate the evolution of the brains of simple organisms living in a planar maze that they have to traverse as rapidly as possible. Their connectome evolves over 10,000s of generations. We evaluate their circuit complexity, using four information-theoretical measures, including one that emphasizes the extent to which any network is an irreducible entity. We find that their minimal complexity increases with their fitness." Full article @ PLOS Computational Biology

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Information and Efficiency in the Nervous System

"we consider the imperatives for neurons to optimise computational and metabolic efficiency, wherein benefits and costs trade-off against each other in the context of self-organised and adaptive behaviour. In particular, we try to link information theoretic (variational) and thermodynamic (Helmholtz) free-energy formulations of neuronal processing and show how they are related in a fundamental way through a complexity minimisation lemma." Full article @ PLOS Computational Biology

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Thursday, August 01, 2013


Quantum Machine Learning

" a series of papers posted online this month on the arXiv preprint server, Seth Lloyd of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and his collaborators have put a quantum twist on AI. The team developed a quantum version of 'machine learning', a type of AI in which programs can learn from previous experience to become progressively better at finding patterns in data." Full news article @ Nature

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Structural biology: RNA exerts self-control

"A crystal structure of two bound RNA molecules not only provides insight into how regulatory riboswitch sequences affect messenger RNA expression, but also expands our understanding of RNA structure and architecture." Full news article @ Nature

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