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The Garden in the Machine : The Emerging Science of Artificial Life - Claus Emmeche

The Garden in the Machine

The Emerging Science of Artificial Life

By: Claus Emmeche, Steven Sampson (Translator)

Paperback Published: 19th September 1996
ISBN: 9780691029030
Number Of Pages: 214

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What is life? Is it just the biologically familiar--birds, trees, snails, people--or is it an infinitely complex set of patterns that a computer could simulate? What role does intelligence play in separating the organic from the inorganic, the living from the inert? Does life evolve along a predestined path, or does it suddenly emerge from what appeared lifeless and programmatic?

In this easily accessible and wide-ranging survey, Claus Emmeche outlines many of the challenges and controversies involved in the dynamic and curious science of artificial life. Emmeche describes the work being done by an international network of biologists, computer scientists, and physicists who are using computers to study life as it could be, or as it might evolve under conditions different from those on earth.

Many artificial-life researchers believe that they can create new life in the computer by simulating the processes observed in traditional, biological life-forms. The flight of a flock of birds, for example, can be reproduced faithfully and in all its complexity by a relatively simple computer program that is designed to generate electronic "boids." Are these "boids" then alive? The central problem, Emmeche notes, lies in defining the salient differences between biological life and computer simulations of its processes. And yet, if we can breathe life into a computer, what might this mean for our other assumptions about what it means to be alive?

"The Garden in the Machine" touches on every aspect of this complex and rapidly developing discipline, including its connections to artificial intelligence, chaos theory, computational theory, and studies of emergence. Drawing on the most current work in the field, this book is a major overview of artificial life. Professionals and nonscientists alike will find it an invaluable guide to concepts and technologies that may forever change our definition of life.

Industry Reviews

"Emmeche's account goes beyond describing (with appropriate awe) the accomplishments of computer biology to raise the crucial question of whether the new metaphor of the machine can be extended ... to the whole of nature."--Times Literary Supplement "A serious, sensible introduction to an exciting new field. It is not every day that one can see science fiction clash with natural philosophy in such a civilized fashion."--Karl Sigmund, Science "Can life be synthesized? Emmeche suggests in his fascinating book an approach to this question by means of computer simulation of living processes ... [and] tackles the posed questions with great insight."--B?rje Ekstig, The Quarterly Review of Biology

The Game of Lifep. 3
What Is Life?p. 23
The Logic of Self-Reproductionp. 47
Artificial Growth and Evolutionp. 71
The Ecology of Computationp. 110
The Biology of the Impossiblep. 134
Simulating Life: Postmodern Sciencep. 156
Notesp. 167
Indexp. 189
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691029030
ISBN-10: 0691029032
Series: Princeton Science Library
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 214
Published: 19th September 1996
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.62 x 13.97  x 1.37
Weight (kg): 0.25

Earn 105 Qantas Points
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