NOBLE APE MAILOUT - AUGUST 2006

ARTIFICIAL LIFE IS DEAD: ONCE UPON A TIME...
SHOW NOTED
WWDC 2006 and DR PEDRIDUL MALEKAR

ARTIFICIAL LIFE IS DEAD: ONCE UPON A TIME...

Through conducting the Biota.org Interviews, I found myself confronted with a number of similar stories associated with the development of hobbyist artificial life. If you have a precursory interest in artificial life, you might find it curious to see that academics and publications like Wikipedia show a death in artificial life development somewhere in the early 1990s.

These two ideas have been weighing heavily on me in recent weeks. Developing artificial life as a hobby appears to have a strong relationship to the death of artificial life. In fact, when I have contacted particular academics associated with early and contemporary artificial life, they confirm that artificial life is in fact a dead field. Perhaps the only way to develop artificial life is as a hobby.

As those who would believe that artificial life is dead, clearly haven't discovered the independent internet (although they have used Wikipedia), they may read a book. The critical mass of half a dozen contemporary artificial life hobbyists gathered together through Biota.org Interviews facilitates the writing of such a book. Whilst my commitment is roughly 20,000 words and cheer-leading, I am well aware that the commitment of writing even a section of a book will take time away from the lingering Windows file handling bug or what Noble Ape on an exclusively INTEL platform will look like.

It is necessary to write a book at this stage because history has diverged so strikingly from reality.

SHOW NOTED

For those on these collective mailing lists who have not tuned in to Ape Reality yet, the podcast page;

http://www.nobleape.com/reality/

Now features on-page players for hearing the podcast ''episodes'' and show notes. If you prefer a purely mailout related interaction and you are not interested in hearing about development, philosophy and the occasional technology tabloid rant, then by all means don't check the podcast out. Otherwise, join in this additional asset to the Noble Ape development.

WWDC 2006 and DR PEDRIDUL MALEKAR

After some musing last mailout, INTEL engineers demonstrated Noble Ape at WWDC 2006. I have heard that they no longer make DVDs of the demonstrations which means somewhat surreally that I may never see what the demonstration looked like.

The WWDC 2006 demonstration was only the start of questioning and exploring what Noble Ape is going to look like in the near future. I suspect as the True3D development changes the visual appearance of Noble Ape, the INTEL exploration relates to how the mathematically intensive parts of the Simulation will be unified and optimised.

An idea I have been running with relates to internal simulation events that can be spread over multiple threads/processors/machines. This problem would be somewhat removed from the brain traffic control however I would still like to see a weather model that can be vector optimised with the vector brain code.

To the end of developing on some of the INTEL Mac hardware rather than my circa 1997 Macs, I contacted Apple's Open Source Manager and longtime tshirt wearing supporter of the Noble Ape development, Dr. Ernest Prabhakar, about whether Apple offered a developer discount for longtime open source contributors. I have been working with Apple engineers since prior to WWDC 2003 and Noble Ape has been distributed on every new Mac sold since that time. It turns out Apple has no such program, so Dr. Ernie very kindly offered me his 15% Friends and Family discount, which I thankfully accepted. Even with 15% off, the next to bottom Mac mini configuration is still quite a chunk of change for a frugal (through necessity) open source developer.

Naming a new machine is part of the fun of getting it. I have reflected long on the name I want to give it. As Dr. Ernie donated 15% of the machine in some part, it had to contain some reference to Dr. Ernie. But I wanted to also include Pedro, Mridul and Malek as people who had contributed spirit to the recent development. This produced Dr. Pedridul Malekar with the initials DPM, a reference to Alex 'Gurap' Brooks.

I hope to have the new machine within a week or so. I am sure it will be liberally filled with cat and dog hair a week following.

Hope all is well with you all,

Tom Barbalet, 20 August 2006.


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