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The EvoGrid: More Detail
From The EvoGrid: The Evolution Technology Grid
More Nitty Gritty
Our starting point is very early along the path of emergence in a phase one might call "prevolution" in that the fundamental mechanisms supporting replication (and evolution through Darwinian Natural Selection) must in fact emerge from a tabula rasa (blank slate). When the prototype EvoGrid goes live in 2010 we hope to witness the emergence of virtual structures in space (rings, catalysts, containers/vesicles, simple repeating strings) or reaction sequences in time (autocatalytic sets for example) within the simulation. With this as a foundation we hope that a ratcheting up of complexity may then occur through several plateaux. Eventually the observing of entities which code their own constructions and reproduction using an artificial genome would be a major scientific breakthrough for emergence science and hopefully shed light on the possible chemical origins of life on Earth. The intellectual and computational breakthroughs will come through optimizing the pathway for vectors of ever higher self organization across the valleys of events of extremely low probability.
The EvoGrid Turing Test
A sort of EvoGrid Turing Test might be to gather a roomful of EvoGrid project engineers in front of a screen showing the complex little artificial molecular machine that was just observed inhabiting the simulation. The engineers are then asked: "did anyone design this or any substantial part of this... and if so please raise your hand" and nobody does. In other words, while these engineers may have been there looking in on its emergence over time and their pre-programmed observer functions may have reported something and the EvoGrid server may have automatically instanced more branches but these engineers still sit there amazed at what has appeared (or what God Hath Wrought). This kind of emergence has long been a common theme in Artificial Life in general and will probably reappear in the EvoGrid. Perhaps this time however we will be able to go beyond just one or two "wow" levels of emergence and watch a continuous show as the vector of increasing complexity finds its way up the slopes of mount improbable.
With Your Help
With your help as a programmer, funder, donator of computing cycles, journalist, critic or just plain fan we may one day bear witness to a plausible picture show of the really cool phenomenon which powered the origin of life on Earth and, possibly, how it may have emerged elsewhere in the Universe.
An Now For More Detail
We intend to examine the range of possible chemical soup combination's and varying conditions that could provide Abiogenesis, a pathway from non-organic molecules (such as water and base elements) to precursors of biology molecules (such as peptides, lipids, and amino acids).
Simulation Evolution Theory Testing
We intend to test if variation of environment conditions contributes to the development of complex structures, as a way of ratcheting past fitness plateaus.
We intend to make the processing power of the EvoGrid available to chemists to allow them to explore possibilities before investing physical laboratory hours into testing.