University of Hertfordshire

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Measuring Time with Minimal Clocks

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Original languageEnglish
JournalArtificial life
Journal publication date14 Jun 2019
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Jun 2019

Abstract

Being able to measure time, whether directly or indirectly, is a sig- nificant advantage for an organism. It allows for the timely reaction to regular or predicted events, reducing the pressure for fast processing of sensory input. Thus, clocks are ubiquitous in biology. In the present paper, we consider minimal abstract pure clocks in different configurations and investigate their characteristic dynamics. We are especially interested in optimally time-resolving clocks. Among these, we find fundamentally diametral clock characteristics, such as oscillatory behavior for purely local time measurement or decay-based clocks measuring time periods of a
scale global to the problem. We include also sets of independent clocks (“clock bags”), sequential cascades of clocks and composite clocks with controlled dependency. Clock cascades show a “condensation effect” and
the composite clock shows various regimes of markedly different dynamics.

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