Re: virus: Re:virtuality

Alexander Williams (
Fri, 03 Jan 1997 13:23:39 -0500 wrote:
> > Ah yes, Life, one of the early cellular automata. It might amuse you
> > to know that the environment that amused a 12yr old boy, as you put
> > it, is the target of heavy research.
> Really? How come. I can see that it may start some minds thinking about
> how it might be re-modelled with more variables to increase the likeness to
> reality (if it exists - Disclaimer :). Is this what the research is looking at?
> Perhaps it would be coupled with more advanced life simulators, to create a
> two teir system. Or amybe it already has, after all, I'd never know.

Because you can model an entire Turing-capable computer /within/ the
Life algorithm field. Really. And since any Turing-capable computer
can emulate any other Turing-complete computer, you don't /need/ any
more complex rules or level/tiered systems to reproduce all kinds of
interesting behaviour, including self-reproducing formations of cells,
clusters that /add numbers/, etc. All of these have been done in Life
already. All you need is sufficent fields of space to build the pattern
in and sufficent resources to run it.

Its been speculated that reality is, at the base, a very simple cellular
automata with a set number of states and transition rules. This very
well might be true, it doesn't take terribly complex rulesets to give
rise to /very/ complex behaviour at a sufficently macro level. (See the
SF novel PERMUTATION CITY for a fiction author's take on the

> So they could never invade and take over a computer network?

Not unless you built an environment that emulated the network
environment itself and bred organisms within it. If you can write
emulations of multi-platform network environments, why're you wasting
your time yapping with us instead of out there making big bucks? :)

   Alexander Williams { /}
  Prefect of the 8,000,000th Terran Overlord Government Experimental
      Strike Legion, Primary Transport TOG "Bellatores Inquieti"
   You ride in 250 tons of molecularly aligned crystalline titanium
wedded to a ceramic ablative matrix.  You carry a 200mm Gauss
cannon, two massive 10-gigawatt lasers, two SMLM fire-and-forget
missiles, a Vulcan IV point defense anti-missile system, and a
deadly assortment of other equally lethal weapons.
   Your vehicle is the ultimate product of 4,000 years of armored
   Your life expectancy is less than two minutes.