Thursday, July 02, 2009

Artificial primordial soup?

A group in the Netherlands is working on a computer simulation called the EvoGrid. It is intended to simulate the chemical reactions in a "primordial soup" and determine whether life could result therein from unguided chemical reactions.

With a laundry list of basic physical properties entered into the starting parameters, the simulation would allow artificial nature to take its course. Interactions and connections between particles should occur, and ever higher levels of complexity may arise from the most basic elements.

Much like SETI@home's screen saver, which enables computers at home to search for signals of extraterrestrial life within volumes of astrophysical data, the Evogrid is conceived to have volunteer computers become part of an interconnected grid for maximum processing capacity.  Damer hopes to eventually get a million computers hooked into the grid. 

These computers would receive data from the EvoGrid simulation engine. The simulation would essentially consist of a vast virtual ocean of interacting numbers that would model the time before complex life forms emerged. To know whether self-organization is occurring, the program would look for persistent patterns within the data. 


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