University of Hertfordshire

Study of inheritable mutations in von Neumann self-reproducing automata using the GOLLY simulator

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE SSCI 2011 - Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence - IEEE ALIFE 2011: 2011 IEEE Symposium on Artificial Life
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)978-161284063-5
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventIEEE ALIFE 2011 - Paris, France
Duration: 11 Apr 201115 Apr 2011


ConferenceIEEE ALIFE 2011


This article involves the study of inheritable mutations in a von Neumann self-reproducing automaton, making use of the GOLLY cellular automata simulator. Multi-point mutations were done on the tape which holds the description of the self-reproducer so as to observe the effects over subsequent generations. Von Neumann said that 'Self reproduction includes the ability to undergo inheritable mutations as well as the ability to make another organism like the original.' One of the central models used to study self-reproduction is cellular automata. Evolution relies on sources of variability, such as the results of mutation. This occurs when a system reproduces itself with inheritable variation, resulting in possibly more complex offspring. Subsequent offspring generations may inherit complex attributes from the parent generation during reproduction, and this is shown here constructively.


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